Thursday 13 November 2014

Life's little mysteries

Now I like a balloon as much as the next person {rather more, in fact, than a former colleague who had a genuine phobia of them} but I find it difficult to believe that they'd be appropriate for ALL occasions.  Surely not at  funeral? Mind you, I've seen black ones with a skull and crossbones on in Wales {Conwy, I think - they're big on pirates there} but they'd probably be a bit too Gothy for most people.  On reflection though, I rather fancy white balloons for my funeral - the gathered multitudes could release them all together... ooh, and maybe tie a card on each one with my picture, and give a prize for the one that went the furthest!  Ok, praps not.

Anyway, when I pointed out this sign to some friends the other night, we found it surprisingly difficult to think of an occasion that wouldn't be enhanced by a balloon.  I did wonder about grocery shopping but was told by everyone, very firmly, that this is not an 'Occasion'.  {My friends get out rather more than I do.} Besides, shopping is such a grim experience, anything to cheer it up gets my vote.

Which brings me to Mystery Number One: Why do most of us find balloons so attractive?  And are there any occasions where they would always be wrong?

We went on to the pub.  {Yes, we did have the previous conversation when we were all stone cold sober.} After a while, one of our group went to the Ladies, and came back giggling.  "You've got to see this," she told me.  And she was right.  It was a bit tricky trying to get far enough away to take the picture, but I knew I had to share this.

Mystery Number Two:  If you were in the toilet looking for the paper, however drunk you might be, why would you not look in the dispenser first?  More worryingly, what else would you think might  be in the large metal box on the wall of the cubicle - snacks to appease the Toilet Monster?

After all that excitement, I decided to clear out my carrier bag drawer yesterday.  {Don't mock; you know you've got one as well.}  I'm not talking about the flimsy, supermarket bags that I use as kitchen bin liners; they're under the sink. The larger bags are supposed to share a drawer with the teatowels but, since I could no longer open the drawer fully I've had to poke the teatowels in with my fingertips, so the drawer didn't shut properly either.

This is what it looks like now.
You will note that I have kept a few bags; these were the more attractive and unusual ones, for when I have to use a bag and want to look as if I shop in interesting places.

And this is what I've taken out.  {My floor tiles are a good 30cm square.}

18 'bags for life'.  This is probably an accurate prediction, as they never get reused.
4 similar bags which make no claims for their durability, but seem pretty sturdy.
7 thinner bags of average size.
7 small ones from interesting shops, including 2 transparent ones- why did I ever think I'd use those again? If I use a small bag it's because I don't want people to see what's in it!

Mystery Number Three: Why do we all keep so many carrier bags?  And why is it such a wrench to throw them away?

Oh, and Mystery Number Four:  What in the name of all that's portable did they expect to need carrier bags for in this establishment?

I really don't want to know... unless, of course, it's for balloons!

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Scraping the surface

This is my £15 rescue table, after two hours' work and an entire sheet of sandpaper.  And you really don't want to see my fingernails!  Perhaps next time I should wear my gardening gloves - the big stiff suede-y ones that are useless for gardening in.
Yes, I know, it would probably be much easier to slap on a load of chemical gloop, and then scrape the varnish off, but I have my reasons for not doing that:

1. I'd need an awful lot, and I can't afford to buy it.  I'd need a scraper as well, since I don't think it would be a good idea to use cutlery, but I can't afford one of those either.  That's why I only spent £15 on the table.
2. I'd have to work outdoors, or with the windows open, so as not to be overcome by the fumes.  I don't think so!  It's autumn now, and damn cold; I don't intend opening my windows again until at least June next year.  Besides, sandpapering has the added bonus of keeping me warm while I do it, so I can turn the heating off for a bit.  I did need a bath afterwards, so I suppose that was no real gain in terms of cost, but at least I might have lost a bit of weight.
3. My beloved suggested that the surface of the table might be veneer, rather than solid wood, so it might lift off or corrode if I used the gloop.  However, he did treat me to the sandpaper.  He really knows how to show a girl a good time!

Why am I trying to renovate an old table anyway? Well, it's part of my plan to transform my spare bedroom.  When the table flaps are open it'll be a good size for working on and, when they're folded down, it'll make a much better dressing table than what I have in there at the moment, which is a mirror on top of a small laundry basket on top of a couple of wine boxes.
 The top of the mirror is only three feet off the ground, which is totally impractical unless you really want to know how big your bum looks.  Which I don't.

Incidentally, if you try sandpapering varnish off wood, do not, on any account whatsoever, wipe the dust off with a damp cloth, even if you dry it immediately.  Why not?  Because it will turn into snotty gunge that makes the sandpapering even more difficult.

 My friend's husband owns an electric sander which I could have borrowed to do the table, but I didn't think that would be a good idea.  I have enough trouble with the soup blender.

I thought it would be funny to draw an evil face on it, but now it won't wash off.  Perhaps I should try the sandpaper.  Or maybe I should make some soup, and see if that does the job.  Oooh, I wonder if my spicy homemade soup would dissolve the varnish on the table!

Thursday 2 October 2014

Surprise ingredients

Now that's what I call a well-balanced lunch, with something from every food group!  Yes, I know a banana isn't an animal, so there's no protein, but I'm not planning on doing anything this afternoon that would require using any energy, so that's ok.  Oooh, I've just checked, and bananas do contain protein!  Only about 1.1g per 100g apparently, but that's allegedly 2% of my daily requirement.  And there's protein in the biscuits too!  One biscuit has the same amount of protein as a banana, so I'm up to 10% now.  Only another 45 bananas to go then, although it would be much easier {sadly, far too easy} to eat 45 more biscuits.  Mind you, I'm now up to 40% of my recommended daily intake of vitamin B6, so perhaps I'd better not have any more of either just yet.  Although it would be a good excuse, if I were to be arrested for staggering around in an uncoordinated way in a public place. {No, of course I haven't been drinking, Officer.  I've just overdosed on bananas.}

So that's fruit, fibre, vitamins and carbohydrate taken care of.  More fruit in the yoghurt and, of course, fat and dairy.  Except that, now I come to read the side of the pot, the yoghurt is fat-free.  How can this be?!  It's so creamy!  More to the point, why can't I buy it in England?

To be honest, I'm not sure that there's any milk in the yoghurt either, because I've thrown away the cardboard from the multi-pack it came in, and it was in French anyway.  However, I did have some milk in my tea, so that's alright then.  I shall just have to force myself to have some chocolate later to boost my fat intake for the day.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Wash & go

I've just been in the bathroom, and there are a load of black hairs all over the floor.  Not surprising really, as there are a load of black hairs all over my head.  {Although fewer than there were before, evidently.}  The worrying part is that the last time I was in there I got down on my hands and knees with some tissue and cleaning fluid, and wiped the floor very thoroughly.  It was completely hair-free, so where did the new lot come from? Now, I know there's a cocoa fairy and a cheese fairy in my house, because quite often in the evenings these refreshments appear next to me, as if by magic.  But I don't think I want a hairy fairy going round collecting up random strands and spreading them on the bathroom floor.  She probably thinks that's where the hair belongs, as there's often so much there.
{Oh my goodness, Hairy Fairies actually exist!  You can find anything on Google!  Caution: I have no idea what the app is like, or even if it's safe; I just like the picture.}

I've been away from home quite a lot lately, so it was rather nice to be in my own bathroom again.  {When I say 'bathroom', I mean the room with the bath in it.  I'm English.}  My friends are all very hospitable, with perfectly nice bathrooms, but I never feel really at ease using someone else's facilities.  For one thing, you can never be entirely confident about the lock on the door, however substantial it appears.  I don't have a problem with nudity - regular readers will know that it's clothes that I find difficult to deal with.  There's a TV programme called 'How To Look Good Naked'.  I'd prefer one called 'How To Find Clothes That  Don't Make You Look Lumpy, Frumpy Or Grumpy'.  No, planned nudity in an appropriate place is fine by me.  Being surprised in an unflattering position isn't.

So when I'm in someone else's house I tend to rush a bit, and don't stick to my normal washing routine.  {Yes, I have a routine.  That's because I'm rarely fully awake first thing in the morning, so it's easier to be on automatic.}  Stepping into an unfamiliar and unpredictable shower I take gel and scrubby net thing, but forget to take soap as well so I can't wash my face.  {I learned this time-saving trick from a friend, who also brushes her teeth in the shower, but I feel that wouldn't be advisable with an electric toothbrush.}  I'm then so keen to get dressed that I forget to use toner on my face as well, so my moisturiser sinks in to my open, grubby pores and clogs them up even more.  Then I realise, when fully dressed, that I've forgotten to use deodorant.  My face can take its chances, but I won't risk being smelly, so that means taking at least some clothes off again, and I can hear footsteps outside.... aaargh!

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Heinous in blue jeans

The healthy eating plan appears to be working, to some extent at least.  {Wine counts towards my '5-a-day', right?  Not too sure about orange jelly, but jam's got to be ok.}

Anyway, the good news is that I can now get into my old jeans again.  The bad news is, now that I come to look at them properly, {rather than weeping, screwing them up into a ball and throwing them across the room} I see that the fabric is now so thin {ok, stretched and worn} in some places that I can see right through it.  My beloved pointed out that many people wear jeans with 'designer rips' in them, but they're usually on the front, round the knees, not... higher up.  And although I'm pleased that my hips are a little smaller now, I really don't want to show the world.  There was nothing for it, I'd have to buy a new pair.

Regular readers will know that I don't like shopping.  But surely jeans, that most basic of garments, should be easy to buy.  After all, I actually knew, for once, exactly what I wanted; something similar to the style of jeans I've been wearing since I was 16. {Not the same pair, obviously.}  Pale blue denim, boot cut.  {Or, as they were described in those days, flared.}

The trouble is, it's now apparently autumn, so the only pale blue jeans I could find in the shops were actually leggins.  There were many pairs of dark jeans, apparently the only acceptable colour for the colder months ahead, but they were also 'skinny fit'.
Now, I have nothing against leggins; I own several pairs. But they only work  with a long, baggy top, otherwise they look, as my grandmother would have said, like you've forgotten your skirt.  Besides, I haven't had a summer holiday this year, so I'm still in strappy-top mode.

I did consider trying my favourite retail outlets, the charity shops - of which there are many in this town.  However, any jeans I could find in there would probably be just as worn out as the ones I already had.  Besides, jeans have to be tried on, and charity shop changing rooms aren't usually very private.  Yes, you can return purchases, but I always feel rather mean doing that.  I know it's less than a fiver, but if I could afford to donate that amount to charity I wouldn't be shopping there in the first place.

In the end I went home, rummaged through my wardrobe and, to my great delight, found another old pair of jeans.... that I can also get into again now!  Just about.  Provided I wear a long, baggy top.

Friday 22 August 2014

Noises off

At first, I thought the rhythmic thumping I could hear was my next door neighbour, um.... enjoying some quality time with a special friend.  Our walls are rather thin, which is a bit of a worry, as I now realize that he can probably hear me singing in the shower.  Then I noticed that the banging noise continued, even when he wasn't there.  Maybe it was his washing machine then?  But no, it can't be that; it's been going on continuously during the day for the last couple of weeks at least.  And whilst my neighbour's clothes always look clean, how much washing can a single man in his twenties need to do?  {My inner Adam, being about 15, has no thoughts on this.}
Maybe the noise was coming from the house on the other side?  By which, of course, I mean the house on the other side of mine, not some ghostly dwelling that may formerly have occupied this plot of land.  My other next door neighbour is an older lady. Oh dear, maybe she's stuck in bed and is pounding on the floor with a walking stick, like Madam Fanny in 'Allo Allo', calling out, "Will no-one attend to the banging of a poor old woman!"
Fortunately, that's proved not to be the case either, as I've seen her up and about on many occasions while the noise continues.

Actually, I've worked out what the persistent, Chinese drip noise is now.  There's a new shopping centre being built about half a mile away, and what I can hear is some sort of boomping machine doing pile driving {As if I know what that is}.  Apparently, the works are due to be finished 'before Christmas 2015'.  Oh joy.