Tag Archives: Ruskin

The Importance of Onions

It’s the little things that count. I think we all know that, as it’s driven home in childhood.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The first small loss was the ten minutes I spent reading Wikipedia on this subject, including stories about pigs and camel’s noses. So if you find me moaning tonight that I didn’t finish my submission for Blithe Spirit, you will know why.

Meanwhile, I direct you too the question of pickled onions.

We have good crackers and we have an excellent selection of cheese (though the chilli cheddar, as I discovered last night, is hot enough to make me sweat. This is probably slightly hotter than I find ideal in a cheese.) We also have some good chutneys. However, as the bill for Christmas shopping mounted I made a few concessions to cheapness, and decided to use the pickled onions we already had.

They are just silver-skins. I bought them based on price and regretted it on first taste. They are just a cheap vinegar delivery system. The best pickled onions are the ones I used to make myself, but I don’t have time or the inclination these days. My favoured shop-bought onions are spiced pickled shallots, which have flavour, bite, depth and heat and are good to eat on their own. They are good, but not cheap, and I decided to economise. It was a bad move. I only saved a few pounds and I have now regretted the lack of decent onions several times. It hasn’t exactly spoiled Christmas, but it has caused a few regrets. For the sake of a few pounds, which really make no difference, I have gained nothing and lost much.

I am now off to ponder Ruskin and consider the wisdom of buying better onions. I may drop a few dried chillies and some peppercorns into the next lot I buy,  to ensure they have flavour.

So, next time you are tempted to save a little money, think before you do so. And remember that if you need to save money, you are probably better off doing without onions totally. Doing without is easier than eating poor quality onions. I can vouch for that.

Amazing! I have over 8,000 photos stored on WP and not one of them seems to be of pickled onions. You will have to make do with a slightly allegorical shot of Julia walking into a sunset. Happy New Year everyone!

EIIR Medallion

Made a Little Worse, Sold a Little Cheaper

Another day, another tale of tedium and failure.

I loaded a new card into my work camera (a pink monstrosity found in the back of a cupboard by the boss). It had no card when he brought it in, and I used one of mine until I could order another. The camera wouldn’t accept it. The screen displayed a message giving me four options. I switched the camera off and on again. Then I took the card out and reinserted it. Still no progress. My third option was to format the card.

This is where the problem occurs. I cannot access the controls and screen to format the card because of the fault message. There seems to be no way round this, despite checking the manual online. and searching for help on You Tube.

At that point I tried to format it on the computer. I expect the word “tried” has already alerted you to the fact I failed. We did find a solution though. Strange as it seems, the new card works in the other shop camera, and the card from that camera works in the “new” camera. I don’t have a logical explanation for this and am forced to conclude that the pink camera hates me. This is, of course, illogical, but so is the situation with the cards. The fault, of course, lies with me for buying a cheap card from an unknown manufacturer. Because of this I wasted over an hour.

An hour and a half of my time is worth more than the money I “saved” on buying a cheap card.

This takes us to the Ruskin quote I have used before.

There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. 

The header picture is, as you can see, a commemorative medallion for the Queen’d 90th Birthday. Expect a few more over the coming days.

Reverse of the Medallion

Eternal Sunset of the Trivial Mind

“There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey.”

That’s a quote often attributed to John Ruskin but, as with so many quotes, there is no evidence he ever said it. However, there is definitely no doubt that it describes my buying habits.

About twenty years ago I bought a cheap, low quality shredder. That wasn’t what I meant to buy, but it’s what you end up with when you buy the cheapest.

About nineteen years ago Julia bought a more expensive, better quality, shredder, because she was fed up of my running commentary on the uselessness of mine. It worked well for years, before with, a screech and a smell of hot plastic, it stopped, and never started again.

That is why I’ve just been muttering at the older machine, whilst prodding at it with a screwdriver and unravelling yards of creased paper from the cutters. I fear the blades are not as sharp as they used to be and, despite the supposed five sheet capacity, they are struggling to cut three.

This is not what you want to see when you have a pile of rugby club records to shred. Even after my efforts of the morning I still have a pile of paper three inches thick to get through. A lot of it is pink and yellow sheets from three-part registration forms and a lot of the rest contains personal details so can’t be re-used as scrap paper.

This is what happens when a conscientious man with access to his work’s printer keeps records. I’ve already disposed of various ten-year-old policies and grant applications.

It’s not as if they are really my responsibility – I was landed with a box of them by a man who is clearly smarter, and more cunning, than I am. After several years of trying to pass them on I have admitted defeat and started to shred. It is not going well, as you can probably tell from the reference to the screwdriver. There is, I can confirm, a small margin between a shredder and a device for screwing up paper in tight folds.

When I buy another I am going to buy an expensive one and hope the price reflects the quality.

The header picture is shredded paper – I took it myself. I did originally take the lazy option but the image search offered a single picture, which was actually a cheese grater. I’m beginning to think that my early enthusiasm for this feature may have been misplaced.

The lower pictures are sunset, taken from the back of the house.