Tag Archives: manners

Breakfast

As promised earlier, I’m going to move on to describe breakfast on Sunday morning, even though it is currently Tuesday. Such is the magic of blogging.

It was a budget hotel, and one of the ways they appear to keep costs under control is by economising on bricks and mortar. As I walked along the corridor I mused on this as my shoulders appeared to brush the walls. Admittedly, I’ve expanded a bit over the years, but they do seem to have skimped  on width.

The breakfast room was similarly snug and called for some creative slalom movements to make my way between tables. I didn’t hit anything on the way to the table, though I did notice several people blanching as I insinuated myself through a number of unfeasibly small gaps.

Now I know what the elephant in the room feels like.

A few minutes with the menu resulted in an order for sausage, bacon, black pudding, eggs, bubble and squeak, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes and beans. Note that we emphasised the healthy vegetable aspects of the meal. Generally the quality was good, though the bubble and squeak did taste more like herby potatoes than proper bubble and squeak.

All was good until the neighbours arrived. The thin edge of the wedge arrived in the form of two small squeaky girls. I’m not in favour of small children at breakfast because (a) they are too enthusiastic and (b) it’s easy to offend with jokes about cannibalism.

They acted as pathfinders  mess for a miserable old crone who arrived moments later and immediately began ordering them around, sending them for fruit juice and toast and various other things. She did all this in a loud voice and without the use of the word “please”. She did say “thank you” a couple of times, but not often.

Then the parents arrived. They didn’t make much of an impression, being mere conversational targets for the garrulous harridan. I’m being very unpleasant here, but if you mess with my planned relaxing Sunday breakfast you can’t expect me to shower you with compliments.

She wanted vinegar with her breakfast. I’m not sure why, unless she wanted to top up her personality. She then told the unfortunate server that she hadn’t brought any mustard. Well, she wouldn’t, seeing as she hadn’t been asked for any. I’ve noticed this before – people not bringing things you haven’t asked for. It’s one of those facets of modern life that sometimes puzzle me. Surely if your server was able to read minds they would be serving at the top level with Reginald Jeeves and Sebastian Beach. Either that or winning prizes for their mind-reading act on Britain’s Got Talent.

I’ll not labour the point, as I’m coming perilously close to using the words virago and termagant and exploring a whole new world of misogyny, which will never do. I will, however, mention that they demanded to have their pain-au-chocolat warmed.

There is a whole new rant waiting on the subject of pain-au-chocolat, the warming thereof and the modern fashion for foreign patisserie.

The world, I feel, was a better place when toast was the only baked product available for breakfast.

This opinion will not be a surprise to regular readers.

 

A Favourite Quote and a Question of Manners

I watched Four Weddings and a Funeral last night. It shares some of the features that make me like the Blandings books (almost eternal summer, romance) but with more depth and considerably more swearing.

One of my favourite film scenes is Gareth’s funeral. Not the famous poem, but the speech.

“I rang a few people, to get a general picture of how Gareth was regarded by those who met him: ‘Fat’ seems to have been a word people most connected with him. ‘Terribly rude’ also rang a lot of bells.”

This rings a lot of bells with me too. Despite recent efforts to diet, fat is still the first impression people have of me. I suppose it’s because my shirt buttons tend to enter a room a foot before I do.

Same goes for rude. I have a tendency to say what I think at the time I think it. That’s not always what people want to hear. It’s fashionable to refer to a lack of “internal censor”.

That this should be considered rude is just a comment on modern society.

I also have a tendency to treat people all the same. This sounds like a good thing but doesn’t always go down well either, as some people seem to think they should be treated better than others. Recruit an idiot, call him a manager and all of a sudden he’s demanding “respect”.

Respect used to be something you earned, now it’s something people seem to expect.

Even worse, I’ve noticed that Julia is starting to use me as a yardstick. The words “nearly as rude as you” seem to be slipping into her conversation more and more these days.

I’m sure that Messrs Volta, Newton and Faraday (plus others I can’t call to mind) would all be happy at the idea of having things named after them. I’m not so sure I want my name to go down in history as the man who gave his name to the International System unit of rudeness.

Ah well!

Bad start to the week

It’s been a bad start to the week. For one thing, I was confined to bed for most of yesterday with a bad case of man flu and self-pity. I resorted to viewing soup as food, so you can guess how bad this was. As a result I started Monday morning with a bad back from too much time on a mattress that really needs replacing.

At the centre we found three things.

One, broken paper chains and other evidence of something happening at the weekend. As usual, we get left to tidy up. Julia soon had half the group standing on chairs with sellotape to mend the chains as the other half stood by to catch falling bodies.

Two, a card from one of the group thanking us for the time they have spent here. At that point the man flu made my eyes a bit watery, but it soon passed.

Three, an email from Australia calling me  “very unprofessional and disrespectful of both copyright and intellectual property rights”. That cheered me up, I love a good fight. I had to check the meaning of intellectual property rights as I wasn’t sure where they differ from copyright. In this context I’m not sure they do, so the depravity of my crime was immediately reduced by half.

So – “unprofessional and disrespectful”? I have other traits too, and the reply I framed in my mind certainly showcased my talent for “rudeness” and “sarcasm”.

You see, one of the group has copied an article from the web. They have typed it out, not used cut and paste, and they have worked hard on it. I’m not sure how it got on our website, but I don’t think they even realise that there is such a thing as copyright.

We’re a team and if you cut one of us, we all bleed, so I didn’t hold back.

Then I thought, this person (I’ll say “person” so I don’t upset anyone with my language) probably doesn’t realise that they are being rude, and certainly don’t know that they are abusing a person with learning difficulties, so is it fair for me to give them a hard time?

Having recovered my manners and sense of balance, I’m now feeling better about the day. It’s not been a good start, but there’s a silver lining to every cloud, even an insulting antipodean cloud. As I’ve often told my kids, you shouldn’t let the rudeness of others dictate the way you behave.

I am now going to write a polite reply telling them to contact the farmer. You see, it’s possible to be irritating even when you’re being polite.

Part II of the day’s doings, with pictures, will appear later.

 

 

Another day at Rufford Abbey

We had a disappointing day at Attenborough Nature Reserve yesterday so we decided another trip to Rufford was in order. (I’ll write about it in a day or two when my good humour has re-established itself).

As usual, we have enough for two posts, so I’ll do the birds first. I started off with a sore knee after yesterday’s walk so we weren’t quite as ambitious as last time. We concentrated on the bridges by the lake and then looped back through the woods. There are bird tables at various points in the woods and we spent some time sitting quietly and watching.

I’m gaining in confidence after a decent flying Greenfinch photograph earlier in the week, so I was hoping to carry on the good work today.

The sitting quietly approach has worked wonders in the past when watching birds, but it can be difficult on a busy day.

It amazes me how many people think it’s appropriate to talk like a bugle whilst walking in the countryside. If I can hear them 25 yards away I don’t know what it must be like when you are walking next to them. It also amazes me the details people are prepared to broadcast about their lives, relationships and health.

Whatever happened to reticence?

As you can see from the Featured Image I found a Marsh Tit again. It’s tricky watching a bird table and snapping a shy bird when you only have a screen to work from. I ended up with a selection of shots featuring either blurs or emptiness. It all fell into place nicely when the Nuthatches arrived, but even then it wasn’t plain sailing as I managed several blurred shots and several with them facing away . Julia was away at the time so she missed them, though she did get back in time to see one pecking at a nut it had wedged in a crevice in a yew tree. Unfortunately it was too dark to get a shot.

As you can see from the other shots we got two unusual birds on bird tables. Moorhens can be quite adventurous when feeding (as I found when they used to rob my bait box when I used to fish) but I’ve never seen them on a table before. Note that the squirrel has a fly on its back – what a photobomb!

Final shot is a Coal Tit – the best shot from about 20 I took of Coal Tits. You can’t see the distinctive white nape in this shot but in the ones where you can see all lack something else.

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Coal Tit at Rufford Abbey

Julia got some good shots  today too so I may use some of them later on.

We also saw Goosanders, Siskins and a (very distant) Kingfisher plus the usual suspects we saw on the last visit. The Goosander and Siskin pictures are poor and the Kingfisher was too far away.

Tuesday night on Tuesday night

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If this was a hard-hitting and controversial blog I’d probably write about how we’d hosted a group tonight where few of the kids had any manners (as in a complete lack of “please” and “thank you”). but as it isn’t, I’d probably have to go on to say that it probably wasn’t their fault, but that of their parents.

Yes, I’m nice. This isn’t natural, I’ve have been using relaxation techniques and such stuff and I can now look at them with a fond smile and think “I really hope this karma stuff works because you’re coming back as a pustule, young man.”

Don’t get me wrong, the majority were nice affable people you’d be happy to meet at any time and one or two were so pleasant and friendly it was a true pleasure to meet them. But, as with rotten apples, it only takes one to spoil things. They are the ones you remember. I will say no more, but as part of my mellowing process I am growing more Wodehousian, and there were one or two tonight who were absolute blisters.

On the plus side, we’re getting better with the wood-fired oven and one of the pigs has had eight piglets. We’ve normally managed more, but eight is still good.

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