Category Archives: Domestic

The Party’s Over

Camilo Ayala

Great Sadness

It is with great sadness and an aching heart (but an immense sense of relief) that I have to announce that I no longer regard myself as a PARTY ANIMAL. How has it come to this, you may ask yourself. How can the Lifestyle Support Guru have reached this sorry state? What momentous event can have caused this? Let me tell you…

DODO and I decided that we would venture into the city centre to sample the bright lights of a Saturday night, something we had not done for some time. THIS WAS A MISTAKE.

We started in a new ‘games pub’ where everyone was playing board games, which wasn’t so bad, although it’s not how I personally would have chosen to spend my Saturday nights when I was in my twenties (or thirties, or forties, or…).
Looking for something just a touch more lively, we moved on to a Latin-American-themed establishment. THIS WAS A MISTAKE.

At first we were ignored by the bar staff, who probably thought we were the cleaners and had arrived early. After getting served (we were the only ones not drinking cocktails), we managed to get a seat and gazed around at the clientele. I came to a number of conclusions:
i) Too many women were wearing dresses at least one size too small
ii) Too many women had failed to purchase ‘no VPL’ (no Visible Panty Line) underwear to go under their small dresses
iii) Too many women had not practised walking in stilettos before coming out for the night
iv) Too many women were too concerned about flicking their hair alluringly over their shoulder then looking round to see who’d seen them do it
v) Too many women were ‘shaking their booty’ – not a pretty sight in a dress two sizes too small, and quite unnerving for DODO because they were ‘shaking it’ in his face. He almost choked on his beer!

I am all for self-expression and not judging others, but there are limits… I doubt very much that the young woman with the VERY large bust and VERY narrow hips wearing a VERY short, tight dress with large flowers (possibly peonies or cabbage roses) on it had intended to look like a drag queen… THIS WAS A MISTAKE.

But there has been one final ‘event’ that has settled it in my mind that my PARTY ANIMAL days are finished. I was preparing a gourmet Sunday lunch (fish and chips – or ‘frites’, since they were from M&S) for myself and DODO. It was as I was lifting out the baking tray to turn the ‘frites’ over halfway through cooking, as per the instructions (is there a knack to this? They seem to end up on the floor or not turned over unless I use my fingers, which HURTS!) that a thought sprang unbidden into my mind – ‘Hmm, I could do with some new oven gloves.’ NEW OVEN GLOVES? NEW OVEN GLOVES? NEVER in the LSG’s long(ish) and illustrious life have oven gloves ever featured in any significant way. And certainly not on a Sunday afternoon with lunch and a glass of wine waiting.

And that, beloved believers, is when I realised that my PARTY ANIMAL days are finally over. One cannot allow PARTY ANIMAL and OVEN GLOVES to exist in the same mind. I am off to the Aga shop tomorrow…
THIS MAY BE A MISTAKE.

Domestic Bliss

A very good evening

from the Lifestyle Support Guru! As you know, I am an expert in the kitchen, especially when it comes to Pot Noodles or microwave meals – these are the talk of the town! Today, however, I decided to branch out a little and turn the oven on (this is known as a ‘blue moon oven’) so that I would be able to prepare a tasty, healthy and nutritious feast for the sickly DODO.
I had all the necessary ingredients to prepare oven-baked cod fillets and potato rösti. By ‘ingredients’, I mean, of course, that the items had instructions on their packaging. The rösti instructions were fine – put in the oven and turn once halfway through. In case I had misunderstood the instructions, I not only turned the rösti but did a little turn myself in a joyful, exuberant manner, skipping up and down the kitchen, singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ (mainly because my efforts hadn’t yet activated the smoke alarm).

It was the cod fillets that caused some consternation, however, since their instructions required them to be ‘wrapped in lightly oiled foil, making a small parcel’. A parcel? A PARCEL? (screeched in my head in the manner of Lady Bracknell exclaiming ‘A handbag? A HANDBAG?’ in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’). For goodness’ sake, these are cod fillets, not birthday or Christmas presents. The only time anyone gets anything wrapped from me is when I order something through Amazon and it asks if it’s a gift.

I finally found the foil wrap (on top of the kitchen cupboard), brushed the dust off it, and ‘lightly oiled’ it – in other words, I liberally sprayed some of that ‘one cal’ cooking spray all over it – then lovingly wrapped the cod fillets in it as if they were delicate items of china and placed them gently on the baking tray alongside the rösti before I did my turn up and down the kitchen. (I am considering ‘I Will Survive’ for my next rendition.)

DODO ate everything and pronounced the fish tastier than the fish he’d had in a rather lovely French restaurant the week before! I did another turn up and down the kitchen, this time singing ‘Food, Glorious Food’. I am considering putting myself forward for the next season of ‘Masterchef’ – indeed, I may even aim for ‘Celebrity Masterchef’. ‘Reach for the Stars’, she sings joyfully,
(About ten minutes ago I asked DODO to look up the act who sang this and he dutifully did so, playing it out loud for me on his iPad to check he had the right song… we are now barred from the local.)

Nigella and SClub7, eat your hearts out!

Technology Unplugged

I make no apologies for producing another LSG post so soon after the last one, but I felt I needed to do something to occupy my brain while partaking of a refreshing glass of wine in a local establishment where the New Seekers are playing over the speakers, including the occasional Christmas song (although they are currently in the middle of ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’).
Why does my brain need to be occupied? – because I have just given up on the book I started reading yesterday – the second Sophie Hannah book I have felt obliged to abandon after just a few chapters. If you’re going to write a psychological thriller, get on with it – don’t get all pretentious and long-winded; that doesn’t add to the suspense, it just annoys me! Book review finished.
So what better way to occupy my unexpected spare time than to share with you some of my experiences with technology in the home? As you know, I now have an ‘ironing’ television – not one that irons for me sadly (no, I don’t mean that it irons for me sadly, but that, sadly, it doesn’t iron for me), but one I can watch while ironing in the back room because there is no room in the front room now that DODO is convalescing at home, although he also has a television in his room, but that seems reserved mainly for music videos, whereas the downstairs front room television is for ‘proper’ television such as THE NEWS and A Question of Sport. (The New Seekers have now moved on to ‘Danny Boy’, if you’re interested).

When I switched on the ironing television (which runs on a Fire Stick), nothing happened, even though it had been working perfectly the previous day. (Another digression – a female frequenter of the pub has just said that ‘dogs never forget’ – I think she may have partaken of one too many vodkas and is confusing dogs with elephants; they both have four legs, so an easy mistake, I suppose)

Anyway, DODO had a quick look at the television then switched the ‘downstairs’ Fire Stick for the ‘upstairs’ Fire Stick (i.e. the one in his room) and behold! – everything worked again! No, I don’t know what he did, either, but I think I may now be hooked on ‘Only Connect’ – Victoria Coren-Mitchell’s sense of humour is just delightful! I shall have to find more ironing!
However, technology can defeat us all, I’m sorry to say, even DODO, whom I regard as having one of the greatest technological minds on the planet – along with TOFU and my female siblings; in fact, I am the only member of my immediate family who knows little more than how to switch on a computer (and the iron and the microwaves and the dishwasher and…).

DODO has been having a clear-out in his room and the carpet needed hoovering, so this evening he asked if the small handheld hoover was fully charged. I suggested he’d be better using the upright cordless to cover a bigger area, so he carried it up to his room while I settled at the computer in my room. I could hear no sound of the hoover being used, but I could hear a strange swishing sound, so I went to his room and found him sweeping the cordless hoover over the carpet, not realising it wasn’t just a carpet sweeper! Oh, how I laughed! (Tears streaming down my face, in fact!) He agreed that it worked much better when it was switched on! (And no, it wasn’t a ploy to get me to do the hoovering because he thinks women are much better at that sort of thing than men – this is DODO, not Godfrey Bloom [the UKIP guy who condemned women for not cleaning behind their cookers!]. DODO would never condemn me for not cleaning behind the cooker, since he would never do it himself. TOFU, however…😂)

The music has now changed to Bread (we’ve got the original vinyl album) and the ‘dogs never forget’ vodka drinker has gone home, so I no longer need to occupy my mind, and the first episode of ‘Trust Me’ calls, so I shall end here and wish you all a very good evening, especially since I have an early morning appointment tomorrow for CACAC (Coffee And Crumpets At Costa).

Sleep well and don’t let the silent hoover disturb your dreams!

Learning to Love

A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru!

Sharing My Thoughts

I have decided to share some thoughts with you on ‘Learning to Love’, which you may think a strange choice of subject for the LSG, since I am used to receiving undying admiration and adoration from my many followers; on the other hand, you may be tempted to think that I have found a new love and that I am going to regale you with tales of my new-found passion, but I wouldn’t be so crass – if you wish for such titillation, try ’50 Shades of Grey’ (again!).

Learning To Love

So what am I ‘learning to love’ I hear you asking. I am learning to love…

1. Ironing

– this is because DODO has set up a television in the back room so that I no longer have to rearrange the furniture in the front room when I wish (I use that word in its very loosest sense) to iron. I cannot do ironing without something to distract me (and the distraction of a glass of wine at 10 o’clock in the morning, especially when combined with a hot iron, is not really a good idea…). Before anybody thinks this is purely a sexist arrangement, I can assure you that ALL the ironing is mine. I would never do anything so silly as to allow DODO to buy clothes that need anything more than minimal attention. So far I have watched two fascinating programmes – one on the RSPCA and one on drunks on planes, but I feel I need to be a bit more adventurous and move on from ‘Panorama’ on the BBC iPlayer…

2. Technology

This has afforded many hours of amusement in just the last day alone as DODO has attempted to set up the new television in the front room to replace the ‘ironing’ television which has been relegated to the back room. I have watched him in a purely advisory capacity – ‘Yes, it’s working; no, it’s not working; why can we only get ITV?’, that sort of helpful thing. When DODO decided to make one final, desperate attempt to get more than one channel, saying, ‘I’ll try the old remote instead of the one that came with the television.’, I refrained from expressing out loud the thought ‘How stupid! How is that going to work?’ I was particularly glad of this restraint when DODO was proved right – I’d forgotten to tell him that the ‘old’ remote was the one that worked the VirginMedia Tivo box!

3. The sound of the smoke alarm

– it means lunch is ready.
And on that thought, I shall wish you all a very good night and wend my weary way to bed after a hard day (well, just over an hour, if I’m honest) slaving over a hot iron, as well as advising on the use of technology, and cooking.

A Day in the Life…

A very good evening, BBs (Beloved Believers) and FFs (Faithful Followers)! As you know, I have been playing the role of Florence Nightingale in recent weeks, looking after DOT, but now to be known as DODO (Dai Of Derby Only) since he is no longer in either Turkey or Tanzania and is only in Derby.

Caring Role

This caring role has involved much work, including, unfortunately, a great deal of COOKING! Now, as you know, whilst many may regard me as a Domestic Goddess, COOKING is not really one of my strengths unless it involves a kettle (for a Pot Noodle) or a microwave (for anything that is NOT a Pot Noodle). To this end, DODO and I decided to buy a second microwave, following TOFU’s (Trefor of ‘Ull) suggestion – he told us that he can cook peas and (frozen) mash in his two microwaves at the same time as he is warming his M&S ‘home cooked’ steak and onion pie in the oven. I was instantly convinced, Dearest Devotees and Ardent Admirers, and immediately rushed out to my nearest electrical store.

Microwaves

We are now the proud owners of not one, not two, but… THREE microwaves! We would not have acquired microwave no.3 if there had been nothing wrong with microwave no. 1 (i.e. it heats the food and pings when it’s supposed to) but it has gone rusty inside. (No, I’m not sure how a microwave gets rusty either, but we decided it probably wasn’t too hygienic.) There has only been one drawback so far with the acquisition of this third miracle item – I haven’t found where to put it because of all the unnecessary garbage I have collected over the years and which has been piling up next to microwave no. 1.

Clutter

This garbage includes a) a tin of tuna (to tempt the appetite of the now-departed Charlie), b) a roll of garden twine – what is that for? – and c) several cookery books – what are they for? Add to that Molly’s flea tablets, a bottle of out-of-date cat milk and a couple of envelopes containing flower seeds from the garden of an ex-boyfriend and you will realise that there is no space for much else. As a result, microwave no. 1 is still ‘in situ’ and has been joined by no. 2 while no. 3 remains in its box. Anyone in need of a tin of tuna, some garden twine and a couple of cookery books, one of which has a recipe for Welsh cakes and laver bread? Or even an ex-boyfriend? (Of course, I mean ‘in need of’ an ex-boyfriend, rather than a recipe for one, but hold that thought…)

Turkey or Torquay

I have to say that life with an invalid has afforded some lighter moments as well, such as when we went to the bank the other day. DODO had a query about transferring money from Turkey, so I wheeled him up to the Enquiries counter where a very nice lady listened very carefully to him explaining about having an account in Turkey and asking if there would be any problem transferring funds from there to his account in Derby because the funds were in Turkish Lira. The very nice lady looked quite concerned and called over another very nice lady to ask for her help and advice. ‘Oh dear,’ I thought, ‘this is going to be more complicated than we first imagined.’ DODO started explaining again about having an account in Turkey and the first very nice lady’s face suddenly brightened and she said in a relieved tone, ‘Oh, I thought you said TORQUAY!’ She had obviously been puzzling over why someone would have an account in Turkish Lira in Torquay – I giggled for the rest of the day over that!

An Extra Inch?

Following that spot of hilarity, we trotted off (well, wheeled off) to a well-known computer/electronics store to look for a new computer monitor so that DODO could add another screen to his collection (he now has four). As he studied the monitors on display, deciding between a 22” and a 23”, he explained the various pros and cons to me, not realising that there was a female customer standing right behind him as he said, ‘You don’t need to pay another £30 for an extra inch.’ I smiled sweetly at the female customer then wheeled him off as quickly as I could!
So there you have it, camp followers – life with an invalid can offer an infinite variety of experiences, rather than a life of doom and gloom! Remember: however long the tunnel may be, there is a light at the end of it; no matter how deep the mine, there could be gold at the bottom; life’s what you make it – a Pot Noodle is more instantly gratifying than a four-course meal that you have to wait hours for AND have to do the washing up afterwards.
Sleep well, AAs, BBs, DDs and FFs – I’m off to boil the kettle!