Tag Archives: lists

Day 58

The header picture is the roasted vegetables from a couple of nights ago when we had the cauliflower cheese. The roots have cumin sprinkled on them and the cauliflower has smoked paprika on it. The effect was mainly cosmetic in the case of the cauli, as i didn’t notice any change in flavour. However, it did look more interesting when it came out of the oven and after over 30 years of making as little effort as possible, I was happy just to cook something that looked a bit more interesting. Thirty years and I’ve graduated to smoked paprika. Who knows what dizzy heights I might achieve in another 30 years?

Apart from that it doesn’t feel as if the last week has brought much in the way of progress.

I’m getting back into the swing of things with writing, but even that is feeling like more of the same, rather than moving forward.

It looks like I am going to have to go back to writing lists of things to do. I know that some people disagree with them but I have always found them useful. However, I do tend to sloth, drifting and procrastination and I need something to combat that.

As long as I start with (1) Make a list of things to do and (2) Drift off to make cup of tea and check eBay I will at least get two things a day done from my list.

This is my resolution for the coming week. In the meantime I am going to go and make a cup of tea. We have shortbread biscuits and they aren’t going to eat themselves . . .

Day 54

I’ve been looking at lists of 10, 30 and 50 Greatest Poets and Greatest Poems to give myself some perspective on yesterday’s surprise about people not recognising the name Adlestrop. Robert Frost ranks highly in most lists. Edward Thomas, his friend, does not. Frost after surviving the trip back to America in 1915, which was not a foregone conclusion in that year, as the Lusitania shows, developed a poetic career and eventually died at the age of 88. Thomas enlisted in 1915, prompted by Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, and was killed in 1917. It seems to me that poetic reputations are often developed by such quirks of history, rather than by the quality of the poetry. Death, and its timing has a lot to do with reputations. Thomas died too soon, Byron died at about the right time, at which point he became a legend rather than a mere poet. I could name several poets who died too late, but that would be mean-spirited.

What I can tell you about some of the lists is that I haven’t heard of many of the poets on one of the lists, which, as far as I can tell, was chosen on political rather than poetic grounds. Such is life when you start making lists. Any list you make is bound to be biased, though you only notice when it is biased in a way you don’t like.

The average list is composed of classic white men with a few Indians, Japanese and female poets thrown in jut to show how well read the lister is. I’m always left with a feeling that these lists reveal just how little I really know about poetry and how any list I write on this subject should not be titled “100 Best Poets” but “100 best Poets in the Opinion of a man of limited reading and ingrained prejudices”. This would be more accurate.

It’s the same with many articles in the news, in the UK they should all be qualified with the words “written by a young and overconfident Oxbridge graduate”.

And that is the opinion of the blogger Quercus Community (a miserable old git who is not fond of modern life and young people).

A List, and a Letter I Will Never Send

Next time I write a to-do list towards the end of the evening I am going to include Number Eight – fall asleep and sleep past midnight in my chair, Number Nine, wake up feeling like rigor-mortis has set in and Number Ten – make sandwiches in the early hours of the morning.

If I’d done that I would at least have achieved three of my objectives.

As it was, I didn’t even reach Number One – write sarcastic letter to TESCO. We had a delivery at just after 8.00.  It gives us time to relax and cook before bringing the shopping in from the door. There were no brown cobs with this delivery, and  a few other bits and pieces of omission or change that I found a little annoying, but that’s the price (plus £4.50 for packing and delivery) that you pay for not jostling with the germ-ridden denizens of our local supermarkets.

The prize for the most bizarre substitution ever, and the reason for my planned outburst of sarcasm.

It was going to be along the lines of –

FAO CEO TESCO

If you opened your sandwich box in the Executive dining room, looking forward to a lovely cheese cob, only to find a mere heap of cheese and pickle, because your grocery supplier couldn’t be bothered to supply any bread rolls, and had failed to find a suitable substitute, I bet you’d be disappointed, and wonder how people can stay in business if they can’t even supply bread rolls.

If you then reached for your delicious finale – an easy peel citrus (as they call small oranges these days) and bit into a lemon, I imagine you would become quite annoyed.

I am, I confess, more than quite annoyed that you substituted lemons for my order of easy peel citrus. I was tempted to pack one for my wife’s lunch to see what happened, but am, frankly, too frightened.

Remembering last week’s non-delivery debacle, I think I will be going back to ASDA. They are useless, but not quite as useless as you.

I am, yours etc…

Of course, I won’t send it. I never do…

 

Ten Steps to a Better Life

I’ve decided to make some changes to my life. That way, slowly but surely, it will improve.

One, do some housework every day. I belong to the Quentin Crisp school of housework (“There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.”) but if we are going to retire to a bungalow I need to sort things out. I just did some shredding. I’m now up to 2008. No need to overdo it.

Two, exercise every day. Even a little bit. Including my hands. Make it into a habit. I’m going to find my weights and residence bands and start leaving them around too. As long as I remember to rearrange them every day Julia will never know I’m not actually using them.

Three, make a good nutritional decision every day. Today’s decision is not to eat biscuits. My willpower on this matter is boosted by the fact that we finished the biscuits on Monday. Tomorrow’s decision to avoid fizzy drinks should be quite easy too.

Four – stop pressing those internet buttons which promise to show you something amazing some American found buried in his back garden. It takes a long time and the only amazing thing is that I fall for it every time.

Five. Go out and walk every day. To the car and back should be about right.

Six – write a retirement plan – that way it won’t creep up and surprise me.

Seven –  start using shopping lists. It will make online ordering less of an adventure but will be better for us nutritionally.

Eight – plan my writing for the year. I have  a few things I want to do but unless I write them down with dates and everything, they won’t get done. This, Julia reminds me is a SMART Plan –  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. I’ve done it before and it’s worked, I really should do it again. That should also help me stop pressing those alluring internet buttons – it’s nose to the grindstone for 2021.

Nine – employ psychology in my struggle with weight loss. Repeating the mantra “Stop eating or you’re going to die, you fat bastard” will be a start. I don’t see any point paying Noom to do that when I can do it myself.

Ten – stop promising Ten Point Lists when you can’t actually think of ten things.

 

The List (2)

I meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot to add that to the list, so it didn’t get done.

14. Warm up yesterday’s soup and eat with the remains of the sourdough bread from Lidl

15. Ruminate on the question of why a budget supermarket has the best bakery

16. Freecell

17. Look at list of jobs.

18. Look again. Are you sure it doesn’t mention Freecell?

19. Look again. Nineteen points in and only two of them are actually on the list.

20. Magazine article. It’s nearly done. An hour later it was still nearly done. Ditto for thirty minutes after that.

21. Let the article mature and go back to it tomorrow.

22. Alarm rings. Is it that time already? Time to pick Julia up.

23. Lose the plot and watch TV.

My performance was patchy in some areas but I think I really nailed Number 23. I’m going to try another list next week and see if I have similar success.

The Bits in Between

I’ve often wondered what happens to people in between the bits they write about in their blogs.

I’m assuming, like me, that people only write about the best, most interesting and positive bits of their lives. So today I’m going to write about all the bits in between – the bits that make me appear lazy, small-minded and xenophobic. This might be news to those of you who already see me as lazy, small-minded and xenophobic, but there are, I promise, further depths to explore.

This morning, for instance, whilst eating a piece of toast and marmalade Julia had made me I pondered the question of whether or not she does it on purpose. She knows I’m trying to cut down on carbs and sugar, and that I’m life-threateningly obese. I’m not sure whether she’s merely absent-minded or whether the toast and marmalade is part of a cunning long-term plan to kill me.

That’s why I watch a lot of crime dramas, it’s research for foolproof ways to murder your spouse. I’m not sure why Julia watches them, but I have my suspicions.

There is an alternative, but that involves getting up earlier and making my own breakfast.

While I was eating the potentially fatal dose of calories I watched TV and muttered about European politics. Just before the EU referendum I was broadly in favour of Europe, but since the vote, with all the posturing of the negotiators, I’ve moved to a position where I’m not.

This mirrors the experience of two of my uncles who had trouble getting out of Europe in the summer of 1940.

Anyway, enough of my growing anti-European bigotry.

After dropping Julia off at work I shouted abuse at a couple of drivers and went back to sleep. I woke up and went back to sleep again. And again. Finally, feeling sluggish, and having wasted an entire morning, I got up.

The launderette was deserted. I’ve stopped going early in the morning as it always seems to be crammed with people trying to avoid the rush. The machine was faulty again and I disobeyed the instruction taped to it by changing programmes mid-wash. This seemed to work and it started washing again.

When I went to the supermarket it all went well until it came time to pay. I had my cards out ready to claim my points and pay when the till operator was asked to help with a problem at the till next door. I don’t know about you, but if it had been me I’d have completed my own sale before doing something else.

I smiled through it, despite being late for picking Julia up from work, even when the machine messed up my contactless payment three times. I find that smiling and being pleasant is character forming, and is good practice for dealing with customers in the shop.

This evening, armed with a list of jobs I’d written in the launderette, I made a start on turning my life round with efficiency.

I’ve done one of them, which was to load eight items onto eBay. I prepared them yesterday at work but put them on tonight as Sunday night is supposedly the night where people pay the most.

Sadly, that’s the only one of eleven items that I’ve done. The fault is obviously with the list, rather than me. If I’d listed Go to the chip shop, Watch crap TV and Potter about on the internet I’d have been able to tick four jobs off instead of just one.

Part of my pottering involved looking at the site 32 Inspirational Sunday Quotes, but by the time I’d reached Number 19 the forced jollity was inspiring me to kick a puppy. This was probably not what they were meaning to do.

With that thought, I will leave you.

 

The Best Laid Plans…

I didn’t quite get the Armistice Day post done as I suggested in the last post.  After writing two part posts – probably a thousand words or so in total -I decided to give it a miss because it wasn’t working.

At that point I switched over to cookery. Belly pork and roasted veg for tea, chicken and ham pie for tomorrow and vegetable curry for Wednesday. Tuesday, which you may have noticed was missing, will be fishcakes. I cheated by buying fishcakes last night, so I didn’t need to make any.

With the associated washing up, and moving of red cabbage, this took a surprisingly long time. Finding the tarragon took the best part of ten minutes because it’s a small packet in a chaotic kitchen. Julia had unpacked it last night and as she had neither left it in the bag or put it in the fridge I was left slightly clueless.

That left me with the choice of breathing life into a moribund post on Armistice Day or transcribing the list of Farmers’ Markets.

If you consider that the transcribing was more fun than the blogging you will see how badly things were going. It kept turning into a rant on the use of the poppy and the Great War centenary as a way of making money.

Things took a significant downturn when we had to do a Health and Safety assessment and fill out a wad of monitoring and personal development forms. It went badly.

Not as badly as the search for a birthday present though, that is really going badly and Julia isn’t helping by refusing to tell me what she wants.

Hopefully she wants a brightly-coloured paper bag containing supermarket chocolates, flowers and face cream, because it looks like that’s what she’ll be getting.