Friday, 31 August 2012

Our Middle-Class Woes

                           It's a troublesome life.

Household duties and chores keep getting in the way of writing novels, reading my books, and generally doing all the things I want to do. Instead, I must spend precious time on all the things I am forced to do. Not that anyone else is forcing me to do them, mind, but it is the knowledge that if I do not vacuum from time to time, a plague of dust mites will infiltrate my lungs and will be the death of us all.

Today has been dedicated to some cleaning and general organising, which is rather paradoxical because I couldn't organise a brewery in a piss-up, especially when sentence structure poses difficulties.

And so the first task is a shopping list on Tesco online, an absolutely marvellous invention when one has run out of essential ingredients such as eggs and flaked almonds. Not quite so marvellous when there's a little message at the side of some of the pictured items informing one that this product is no longer available. The crumble will be ruined.

Then of course the bins want bringing up from the garden gate but, oh, it's raining and I'm wearing goats' leather slippers. After changing, I run down to the bins and lug them unceremoniously up the tarmac drive, in such a hurry to get out of the rain I almost bump the Yaris with the paper recycling wheely bin. The kitchen bin lid needs washing and the rubbish taken out to the now accessible larger bin. But I've forgotten to get all the fluff from the tumble-dryer!

Our tacit (and rather rude) ironing lady has been and steamed her way through a basketful of towels and shirts, but what use is that when I end up having to re-iron a fair few shirts because she evidently can't tell a crease from a fold?

And the fridge. The fridge needs cleaning. It hasn't been done for a long time because there is dark brown gunk from mustard or sauce or whatever else exudes brown icky liquid sticking to the bottom shelf. There is a yoghurt from March. Unopened, and it is kept that way as it descends into the newly emptied kitchen bin. Jars of multiple chutneys and curry paste that have only been used once are discarded for I know not for how long they have been camped out there. Thankfully, I have managed to save the anchovies and artichokes. Once the scouring is complete and the trays re-constructed in their rightful door place I wash out the cheese box. I shall issue warning to family members that whosoever disturbs the immaculateness of the fridge shall be punish├ęd. Probably around the cerebral or nasal area with a glass jar of Marks and Spencer's pitted black olives.

The last task today will be deciding whether to have vegetable pilaf or vegetable curry for dinner. Lentils, chickpeas, or bulgar wheat? Such are the traumatic choices one must make.

Monday, 13 August 2012

'Sundays are for mimes' and Other Stories

It has been a mad couple of weeks of gigantic hope, breathless excitement, shouting, running around, a swelling sensation of pride in the stomach being British, and creating our very own dead bodies' competition. Ah, you thought I was talking about the Olympics... Terribly sorry, but I feel there has been enough coverage of that, and rather superbly done. Suffice to say bravo indeed to all the athletes.

No, I speak about the event which has occupied my mind for some time now: the arrival of my Catalan putos calaixos friend. Look up the word 'inappropriate' in the dictionary and there is a fair chance of finding a picture of us two grinnning idiotically or striking some, well, inappropriate pose. This is the girl who phones up a restaurant and makes a reservation under the name of 'Miss Nipple'.

And so Liverpool John Lennon Airport was subjected to a monumental display of homoerotic hugging. Irreverance and tasteless remarks ruled supreme. My particular favourite was the invention of a game while we were meandering around the Catholic cathedral in Liverpool: BattleSaints. The principle is based on that of the splendid game of Battleships - 'B4, you've sunk my submarine, you bastard' - with some minor modifications. Of course, the main one is introducing saints to the board - 'B4, you've sunk my Saint Bridget, you bastard, now all the dairymaids will die!' The only possible improvement to the game would be if the saints themselves sauntered on down to manifest their spiritual being on the board - 'Saint Swithin...we meet at last.'

At Carlisle Castle
At Carlisle Cathedral

 Then there was the Dead Body Competition, naturally. Suggested by aforementioned friend, we agreed that the winner would be the one who picked the best dead body spot in the best dead body position.

 These pictures are the only pair of examples because the best photos are not yet in my possession. And even if they were, it would probably be sage of me not to put them up here considering their...location.

There is one thing of which my friend is very respectful: Sundays. Not to go to church or anything religious like that, oh, no. Sundays are far too sacred - they are the days which belong to the Silence. Noise (particularly pedestrian traffic light bleeping) is absolutely prohibited. Then I pointed out that mimes could reap the benefits of Sundays, since she had neglected a clause pertaining to action. To which her reply was a panicky and harrowing: "Noooo! No imaginary animal balloons!"