Posh Nosh

With her half strength soy latte perched in elegantly manicured talons, my posh pal ‘Beryl’ decided there was nothing on the A la carte menu of 40 items that she wanted to eat. Beryl isn’t her real name but am calling her that because she will hate it; a small revenge on her just because she managed to look so fabulous at an 7.30am breakfast meeting. I did suggest she must be sleeping with her hairdresser to have been blow dried so early, when the salon clearly can’t have been open; and she leaned forward with the earnestness of confessing a sin and said ‘I do it myself!’, like I was going to be shocked she knew where the ON button was on an appliance. Well, I was a little.

Pristine Posh

When I say she is posh, I mean she is one of those blessed folk that seems to drift through life untouched; as if somehow their pedestal cushion allows them to float over the top of the everyday effluent that sticks to  the rest of us and leaves its mark. But that said, she is gorgeously oblivious to her airs and graces, and frankly wouldn’t give a damn. She is a terrific laugh, doesn’t mind at all when I ‘send-her-up’ and make fun of her outrageous ways; she gives as good as she gets does Beryl, which I am sure is one of the main reasons we are mates… she calls a spade a long-handled digging implement!

Nosh with numbers

‘Is it wrong to eat a semi-freddo for breakfast?’ she muses, not if you are hot says I, and you only want a bit of it. {in case you are not a foodie, it is a half-frozen dessert made with cream}. Which got us onto the fractions and multiples that are fashionable in food language: semi-boneless ham, double cooked chips, twice cooked pork belly, 60 degree eggs, double brie, twice cooked goat cheese soufflé, multi-meat pie (yuck…doesn’t bear thinking about!),triple cooked roast potatoes, four cheese pizza, five or six food groups( they don’t count chocolate as its own section), seven-fish stew, one sandwich short of a picnic, half-baked… (food and people)…….

I know what will be ideal for breaky, how about some twice cooked bread I suggest?, ‘Oh, I must have missed that’ she says and re examines the menu…….
TOAST says me.

*Mindful that covers can mask the book, and learned not to write about food coz it makes me hungry.

Advertisements

Automating Numpties


Being ‘busy ‘ has become the ‘new black’ , it is trotted off the tongue of all you meet, like a proud panacea for not doing this, that or the next thing.  I am as guilty as the next, indeed I used to say that ‘busy is my starting position’;  and so as a reminder that there IS only ever 24 hours in a day, nominated a full day to being determinedly NOT busy and to practice the art of ambling and generally having no real plan for each minute of the day. Of course this was fairly easy in the confines of the menagerie but I did need to do two main things on the appointed day, but decided that was fine, as long as there was no rush. The first stop, the bank.

Busy Banking

My local branch is not large, so you can imagine my surprise when I was greeted inside by a flash new fit out, complete with a ticket machine just inside the front door, with a large sign inviting me to “Take appropriate ticket”, ok, I will play.  Let me see….three choices A,B or C. A was unhelpfully labelled ‘Transactions’, isn’t everything you do in a bank a transaction thought I? but as B and C seemed to be two forms of enquiry I followed the herd and pressed the already worn A and was rewarded with a small bit of paper bearing a giant number A93, hmm time to look up and survey the queue. Apart from the new paint job, the branch had a new teller counter with four slots , two of which had actual bums on seats; and six small cubicles had been popped around the side walls. The middle contained a small square of brightly coloured cube seats, covered in fidgeting people and a long queue of about 25 fellow ticket holders, whose faces showed varying degrees of agitation.

Robots

My musings were interrupted by the booming of a disembodied electronic voice saying “Ticket B 103 to counter 2″…> good thought I, we will nip through this queue in no time (completely forgetting that I had all the time in the world today). But nope, nobody moved……slight pause and another two numbers got no ‘winners’ in the crowd; then an A number found a matching pair of feet that shuffled to the counter.  This carried on, with roughly every seventh number called actually having a person attached; clearly the machine needed adjusting or folk were more impatient than myself and left before being granted a conversation with a person; but with each wrong number the crowd tutting  got louder and the queue was growing. The stoic two tellers seemed oblivious, and barely looked up between people; as did the three employees in the cubicles, nil of which were serving people, and all intent on the screens in front of them….I am guessing they were the B and C numbers that folk don’t press. The woman behind me said ” whatever happened to just calling ‘Next’ ?”…quite, I nodded in queue camaraderie.

Taking Root

Just as I was taking root in the carpet tiles, my lottery ticket matched the robot voice and I won an audience with teller one; a helpful , grey faced young  chap with well chewed nails apologised that I had to wait “8.22 minutes”, he gestured to his small screen linked to the robot voice, and its recording of my initial button press. No problem says I, I just want to pay in this cheque [I know! an actual cheque in this day and age, but some kind soul had taken the time to write on it and put it in the snail mail to me; so the least I could do was hand deliver it back to its bank of origin and complete a two week loop!] Teller one is saying ‘do you know you could have deposited that in the machine at the front, beside the ticket machine?’, no, well I had seen it but thought I would only be here a moment or two; ‘I will show you’ he offers helpfully and starts to get up (to the horror of the queue behind me), no, I will be fine protests I’………but then appears a cubicle inhabitant to his rescue; a prepubescent vision in fuchsia polyester, ‘let me help her Tom, you are far too busy” she says and flutters her lash extensions at  Tom, the obvious object of a crush. The queue heaves a collective sigh of relief and my crowd eviction moment passes.

ATM input

I will be fine from here says I, as Miss fuchsia points out the cheque eating machine, ‘NO’ she says firmly, I will wait and show you…….(obviously my invisibility cloak of gardening cardigan and no makeup was nicely disguising my IQ); with her new found authority she showed me the slot to put the cheque in ‘oh, so I just put it in there?, how clever quips I’, ‘NOT until the machine tells you’ says she, I wouldn’t dare! laughs I, “press the button marked deposit cheque’ I am instructed, what now? are you sure? says I, attempting sarcasm , but Miss fuchsia doesn’t seem to mind as she is zoned out and inspecting her glitter tipped acrylic nails and, finding a gap in the glitter she inspects it closer. I resisted the urge to tell her she would find the missing glitter lodged in her keyboard under the F  shortcut key to her facebook page; which is what she was looking at when I was taking root next to her cubicle.

Memento

‘Do you want a receipt?’ she asks, as a final act of kindness to the numpty in the cardi; ‘ohh yes please’, I have been here for so long now I feel I should have a memento of the occasion and of this 20 minutes of my life that I wont get back. Having reached the end of the glittery ones attention span she reached over me and pressed the receipt button for me and presented me with the wee slip of paper with a flourish of achievement. Now she can get back to her online friends and talk about how busy they all are.

So am now a fully trained operator of the input part of an ATM machine (incidentally, I am convinced that stands for Automate The Masses), and if they add a wee TING noise to the ticket machine at the door I am sure I will respond with a time saving woof like a good little Pavlov.

* Mindful of sarcasm being the lowest form of wit, and learned that my boredom threshold is somewhere between zero and 8.22 minutes.

 

Belief and Bugs

With finger on the trigger and murder in my heart another home-invader was in my sights; and with a small finger movement, was dispatched in a cloud of pongy mist. I would never make a good Buddhist as my attitude to Bugs would always get in the way; especially the Spiders, how could I possibly see one as someone’s ex Aunt Ethel reincarnated and let it cohabit?

The good…

Yes, as the menagerie would attest, I am an animal lover however the sight of the very wee sentient beings that are of the bug family leave me not just cold but intent on annihilation. With the possible exception of Ladybugs and Grasshoppers who both do a great carnivorous job of keeping the smaller aphid critters out of the garden, so they are positively helpful. Actually it is easier to be tolerant of general creepy crawlies when they are outdoors and seem to be doing something vaguely useful; but out of their natural habitat i.e in my house  it brings out the hunter in me, and I am off looking for weapons of mass destruction, which can’t be at all good for my Karma!

I give thanks to the inventor of the Aerosol spray (and the nasty chemicals within) , for without them I may have to actually get close to the bugs to hasten their demise; and I probably couldn’t do that. You see I am a sprayer, not a squisher…..a total wimp in the face of six or eight legged blobs, so if there is no hero to hand to do the dirty work for me I am forced to spray from arms length and run away until the coast (and air) is clear. Of course it’s not good for the environment (the chemicals) but I salve my conscience and balance environmental credits by being super good at recycling and water conservation (promise).

The bad…

Spiders are (of course) the scourge of the earth and the best thing I can find to say of them is that they make pretty webs, which can look spectacular when decked in dew drops in a morning mist; but NOT when you walk into one, as happened to me at the weekend when going under a tree, and the sticky threads stuck to my face and hair…EEEECK!!….. Much swatting and ruffling of hair later I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I had somehow missed the body of the beastie and that it was waiting till I wasn’t looking and would drop down from my fringe in front of my eyes.

…and The Hugli

The puppy  (Aggi the farter) was my saviour after the web in hair incident, as she is rather fond of bugs, and frankly will eat anything. All I had to do was retreat from the web to the indoors and roll-around on the carpet with the wee one for 5 minutes; a good licking and hair grooming ensued and I felt not only bug free but well loved…..if there had been any bug in my general vicinity, believe me it would have been eaten. Must say that the first time I saw Aggi eat a bug I felt ill, but now view it as a great help around the house.

Aggi is (of course) cute as a button’, unfortunately , her penchant’ for eating anything from Chook poop  and bugs to socks doesn’t leave her smelling so sweet (hence her nickname). Am going to experiment with adding handfuls of mint to her food to see if it improves the air quality, will let you know how it goes. *Mindful that tolerance levels could do with some work, but thankful that fur baby hero’s give good hug. 

 

 

Amature Guerrilla

As a long-term want-to-be “guerrilla Knitter”, this week I finally gave in to this fluffy urge to wrap inanimate objects in knitted colour. I started small (see picture of stapler below) as it occurred to me that a woolly jacket for this utility item would not only add some texture but also has a practical purpose; a padded gentle platform for the hand when stapling many documents and its winter here so (if required) it can double as a hand warmer! Safe, fun and warm. Suddenly this most basic of desk items has a whole new appeal, I only wish I had had more colourful wool to hand when the compunction to knit overcame me.
If you are not familiar with the Guerrilla Knitting movement, a quick Google will tell you all you need to know about this peaceful, clandestine wrapping of our world, one colourful object at a time. Today a stapler, tomorrow a satellite dish! It’s important to have ambition.
Woolly origins  and the invincibles
I can trace this long-held fascination with knitting back to when I was seven and my Nana taught me to knit squares ‘for the babies in Africa and the poor’; knitting squares from any odd bit of wool was very “in” then, as I seem to remember all my friends being urged to do the same.
These squares were taken in batches to a gaggle of earnest women in invincible cardigans, who huddled in the church hall and sewed them together into regulation covers for the needy. Even in my tender years I could see that it was a great excuse for the women to have a right old gossip, and the noise levels   made your ears hum.

The long experiment
The bit that never made sense to a very young me was why the African babies would need wool blankets?…all I knew of Africa at that stage was that it was hot and had Lions and I was pretty sure that a blanket wouldn’t stop a big cat. I did run my doubts by Nana but she did her usual diversionary tactic of getting me to concentrate counting rows and making the squares a regulation six inch square size…….’but why squares Nana?’ asks me,’ because if I knit big long strips they wont need so much sewing together’ says I , chuffed that I had thought of a way to get the ‘needy’ warm quicker…….she laughed and told me to ‘haud-yer-wheesht’ which roughly translated from Scottish means be quiet and is a mild scold… ‘nobody likes a smarty pants down the church hall’, she added to make sure I understood my wheesht should be haud down there too!.
Instructed to just knit in six inches…….a ‘but why?’ resulted in a lecture on how they have to be that size as ‘most folk only have six inch rulers and not the luxury of ones with the full 12 inches’; she had an answer for everything my Nana and it was an early lesson in conformity and not rocking the boat; for rocking the boat in a small town was considered a heinous crime. She did however give me all her odd bits of wool to run my own creative project AFTER I had finished many uniform blocks of garter stich; and I turned the bits into the longest scarf, complete with wool joins, holes and knobbly bits. A stunning edifice, I wore it with everything until it vanished one day and nobody in my house owned up to having seen it. but I digress………………>

Other creations

This week, in addition to the stapler warmer I also fashioned a cute little egg cosy in red ( an item from a bygone age, where people had so much time to eat breakfast that they needed to keep a boiled egg snug!); however, when I went to get camera to take a pic.  Aggi (puppy) ate it; she is a Labrador, what can you do ‘sigh’.  Pooper scooping was therefore more colourful than usual and she managed to have a poo that looked like it was wearing a wee woolly hat! (too much info I am sure), so I am chalking that one down to my first outdoor wool bombing (all be it via the puppies insides)…..now that’s what I call clandestine!!

Future projects

Driving by the local primary school this morning I had a ‘light-bulb moment’ for there was the Lollipop man, patiently ushering the kiddies across the road in the rain and his poor hands looked frozen on the lollipop pole ***‘I could cover the pole in fabulous knitting thought I, that would not only look fantastic but warm his hands and I wonder if you can get luminous wool?? coz that would make it safe for the kiddies on the road too’. Clearly it will take more  planning, as I would need access to the pole to get the right measurement; but how do you ask a lollipop man if you can measure his pole without arousing suspicion?

PS: I would offer to make you all a stapler cosy but the delivery time could be anywhere between one and five years if the encounter with Lollipop man does not go well. Besides, I don’t think they let you have knitting needles in prison coz of the pointy ends ;which is a shame as I am sure they have time on their hands and could make great stuff. Maybe it isn’t because of the pointy ends, maybe it is because they could knit themselves a rope ladder and escape?

* Mindful that creativity knows no bounds but community norms can be barriers in themselves.

 

wooly stapler

Yes, it does work with the cover on!

 

images[7]