Category: Advice

My Civic Duty

A very good evening to you all! Lifestyle Support Guru here again! I thought I would post a little something to keep you all amused tonight because there’s nothing else to entertain you, is there? The Lions aren’t playing today and there’s only some little, unimportant game of football between England and Italy, nothing to get excited about, so you might as well do some reading!
I have been doing my civic duty today, helping with the local Picnic on the Green, although I only played a small – but important! – part, setting the Animal Treasure Hunt and selling raffle tickets.
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/I also kept t’committee intrigued with my wine glass – being the LSG, I am not one to have any old common-or-garden variety of wine glass. OH NO! This was a non-spill wine glass with optional lid, and the lid had a little shutter on it to stop insects from falling in and consuming one’s beverage! Only one country could come up with such an ingenious drinking item – yes, Australia! Brought back for me by youngest sibling some years ago. (See photo below – of glass, not sibling.)
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/ https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/Some members of the aforementioned committee also found it amusing that, out of my cool bag, I produced some wine. Nothing unusual in that, you might think, especially not for the LSG; but this wasn’t any old bottle of wine. OH NO! This was a BOX of wine! Let’s face it – if you’re going to spend the afternoon selling raffle tickets and marking Animal Treasure Hunt answers, you need something to help you along!

The Animal Treasure Hunt caused the LSG far more grief than might have been expected. Twelve pictures of British animals had been hidden around the green and all the dear little children had to do was find the pictures, identify the animals and write their answers down. I didn’t make it too difficult, but I am a little worried about what some of our future generations are being taught – one sheet came back fully completed and all answers correct except one, where the child had identified a swan as a… wood pigeon. You would have expected a child with a name like Hydrangea or Hibiscus, or whatever it was, to have some knowledge of nature!
After the winners were announced, one child came up to me to complain that he hadn’t been given a prize. ‘No,’ I said, ‘that’s because you didn’t win one.’ (The LSG is known for her practical outlook.)
‘But my sister won one.’
‘Sorry, but that’s life. Sisters sometimes win.’ (Or words to that effect.)
He departed with tears in his eyes and then returned, complaining that his friend had also won a prize and had given it to another friend.
‘Well, that’s good of him. Shame he didn’t win two prizes, isn’t it?’ (Sympathy oozing out of the LSG!)
Off he went again with tears in his eyes while his mother came and apologised for the hassle, explaining that he was jealous of his sister winning a prize.
‘Oh,’ I sighed. ‘I fully understand. I have two brothers who are always walking away with tears in their eyes.’
But even the LSG isn’t completely heartless, so I called him back and offered him a Velcro-type bat and ball set (the others got Liquorice Allsorts). His eyes filled with tears again, which I assumed were tears of gratitude this time. OH NO!
‘I’ve already got one of those at home,’ he said, bluntly. In the words of King Lear, an old friend of the LSG’s, ‘How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.’
I think his mother saw the look on my face and quickly sent him off to play with it. Five minutes later he’s back, sister and friend in tow. ‘It’s broken.’ This time he didn’t need his mother to tell him he was pushing his luck! The last I saw of him he was chasing a cat and his sister and friend were playing with the now-mended bat and ball. Roll on next year’s picnic!

The Entertaining Continues

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/Good evening! Another garden party, another post!
Following the first summerhouse-warming party, it was felt that another was required in order to build on the success – and to get rid of the remaining yummy snacks before they went out of date. (Whilst the Lifestyle Support Guru has the constitution of an ox – if not quite the build – I recognise that this is not the case with all my acquaintances, but I digress.)
Invitations were given to the lovely construction technician, Jez (i.e., him wot put the summerhouse up), his lovely part-Italian partner, Emma (not to be confused with the not-so-lovely part-Italian Gina Coladangelo who consorted with a certain Mr Hancock), and a third lovely friend known as Chris the Cat (to differentiate her from various other acquaintances of the LSG who are also called Chris). Jez said he would supply the barbecue if I would supply the drink (a good bargain, as it turned out, since two of the three were on a ‘school night’, so not drinking much, and the other one brought her own drink! These are my kind of guests!).
Upon arrival, the guests were given the obligatory tour of the lower level of the house, and it was pointed out that an ironing board had been added to the furnishings since the BFG and BSG had visited. This was greatly admired.
The summerhouse was also much admired, along with the not-quite-out-of-date yummy snacks, and then the LSG suggested that her guests try the zero gravity sun loungers. Well, that was it – the two female guests (am I allowed to say ‘female’ these days?) could not be moved from them for the rest of the evening (although they made half-hearted offers to give them up).
The food was delicious and plentiful and all the better for having been cooked by someone else (I did offer a Pot Noodle as an alternative, but it was thought the pots might melt on the barbecue – you’ll never know until you try, I say!). The conversation ranged far and wide, from bird-spotting (the guests identified a kestrel and a heron, while the LSG identified ‘some birds’) to health. The LSG was fascinated to learn that Chris the Cat has a talking watch which tells her when to move and even when to breathe! Amazing! Luckily, I have two brothers who do that for me (tell me when to move and breathe, I mean, not actually move and breathe for me, of course! I haven’t quite sunk to the level of being an inanimate object – yet!).

All in all, it was a successful evening, spoiled only slightly by the fact that it didn’t get quite dark enough for the guests to see the flashing fairy lights around the summerhouse before they had to leave – Jez on his electric bike, Emma walking alongside him (one of them got the rough end of the stick there, I think), Chris the Cat by taxi, still listening carefully to her watch.
I shall probably charge admission for future visits because next-sibling-down has returned from the wilds of Hertfordshire and has brought many items with him to adorn the front and back rooms, so guided tours will, inevitably, take longer. Prices upon application.

A Guided Tour

Good evening to you all! Here I am, back sooner than you probably expected, but I felt I needed to share more of my wisdom with you after offering my support to Nigel in my last post. This is quite a different sort of support, but it may help some of you, especially now that we are being given more freedom (and some have taken advantage of this greater freedom even before it was permitted, haven’t they, Mr Hancock?).
And what is this support? It is about how to welcome visitors into your home, a rare event indeed in the LSG’s household. This is not because the LSG and her male sibling are unsociable creatures – far from it! – but we have learned over the years that welcoming visitors involves a lot more than just opening the door when the doorbell rings. Let me explain.
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/You invite a couple of guests to come and admire your newly constructed summerhouse before heading off to a free concert on the nearby green. In preparation, you dash off to a well-known retailer the evening before and stock up with some picnic food to be consumed in the summerhouse. This is not just picnic food, you understand – this is yummy picnic food!
The next morning, you work out what needs to be done before the guests arrive and realise that you are now going to have to fit six months’ worth of cleaning and tidying into about two hours, even though you will be rushing them through the house to get to the garden.
The bathroom comes first, just in case either needs to avail themselves of the facilities. (Have you ever noticed how bleach, whether it’s described as ‘Lemon’, ‘Pine’ or ‘Aqua’, smells just like… well, bleach.)
The doorbell rings and you invite your guests into your humble hovel, first pointing out the wine cases still waiting to be opened, so that they don’t trip over them. Then you apologise for the three large storage boxes in the next room which, you explain, contain all the electrical equipment for the online quizzes – the guests seem suitably impressed, although you hope they will also have noticed the ‘tram lines’ left in the carpet by your quick run over with the hoover and recognise what an effort you’ve made.
Out to the summerhouse and you apologise for the proliferation of weeds on the path, explaining that this is the male sibling’s job, but he’s away. However, they are too amazed by the summerhouse to care about a few piffling weeds – and when you bring out the yummy snacks, they are even more in awe of your hosting skills! Unfortunately, you forgot to take the yummy snacks out of their packaging and so were unable to present them as all your own work, unlike the cheese straws that the guests brought along, still warm from their oven. The wine was suitably chilled, having sat in the chiller for the last week, so that was a success.https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/
And after having fed and watered yourselves (and no one needed to use the bathroom!), you wander off to a very agreeable and relaxing hour or so on the green, listening to a jazz concert. Bazza, the Friendly Geordie (the BFG) and Bazza’s Shy Geordie (the BSG) were very welcome first guests to enjoy the delights of the summerhouse – and there are more guests to come at the end of the week! This entertaining lark could catch on!

Dealing with Loss

Hello, hello, hello from the Lifestyle Support Guru! No, I haven’t turned into a policeman, but I’m just so excited to be in touch again! I have such little news for you at the moment because nobody is doing very much or going anywhere. However, I felt I needed to communicate with you after receiving some incredibly sad news today from a friend of mine. It was this news that made me realise that I still have a role to play as the LSG even in these unprecedented times and that I can still offer support and friendship, even at a distance.
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/This friend – I’ll call him Nigel for the sake of convenience – was informed today by post – not even a personal phone call! – that Laithwaite’s wine is closing its Croydon branch next month. Nigel is a good customer there, so it’s not closing for lack of sales, and this will leave him with nowhere to go for a regular supply of his favourite Shiraz. He’s finding it difficult to talk about it at the moment and I have offered him counselling (but none of my wine stock). I have also said I would be prepared to accompany him to the store before the closure to pay my own last respects (not in case there are any bargains to be had, of course).
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/

Glass of Sauvignon Blanc

We all have our own ways of dealing with loss and I have suggested to Nigel that he should empty his wine cellar (aka ‘the cupboard under the stairs’ or ‘the lake’) of current stock to make plenty of room for replacements. The last I heard this evening, he was on his third bottle, so he has clearly listened to my advice. I have also heard that his wife is filing for divorce (that’ll give you more room when the handbag collection has gone). Win some, lose some, Nige…

You know I’m always here for you, especially if you bring a bottle of wine

A Social Occasion

Hello, Faithful Followers! Lifestyle Support Guru here after a long absence. Have you missed me? Such wonderful news – today, I went out on a ‘social occasion’ and met up with not one, but two – yes, TWO –acquaintances! However, please keep it to yourselves that we were a ‘ménage à trois’ (so to speak), since we are only supposed to meet one other person, and in a public space, but we were in a garden, so not technically a ‘public’ space, but it was in the open air, so we felt that we were staying within the rules – more or less.
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/And what was the reason for this ‘social occasion’? An exchange of alcoholic beverages and literary works – in other words, swapping bottles of wine and books. I swapped a bottle of Sardinian white wine and a book about ‘cork dorks’ (wine nerds) for a bottle of Provençal rosé and a book written by an anti-fascist about his exile in a remote region of southern Italy. I think this says a lot about our differing literary tastes and intellectual capacities – I leave it up you to decide who is the ‘lightweight’.
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/We had a jolly chinwag as Bazza, the Friendly Geordie, (BFG), who has appeared in my stories before, and the LSG sat at the garden table, wrapped up warmly, while her paramour, BSG (Bazza’s Shy Geordie), sat just inside the kitchen door, so should the riot police come charging into the garden, they would find no one breaking any rules. We are a law-abiding lot, even though we compared speeding offences during our conversation!
(It was lucky that it wasn’t a warm spring day, otherwise I would have had to remove my jacket and thus shown that the (new) jumper I was wearing was in sore need of ironing, having not long been taken out of its wrapper, but that is now a secret I can take to my grave.)
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/Having swapped our various items, including a bottle of out-of-date beer, which happened to be lying around in the LSG’s kitchen, BFG suddenly asked – apropos of nothing – if I liked hummus! ‘Yes,’ I replied with great enthusiasm. ‘Oh good. Would you like to take some home with you?’ ‘Yes, please.’ I said, thinking that perhaps they had purchased too much on a recent shopping trip and were trying to fob the LSG off with some out-of-date hummus in exchange for the out-of-date beer, knowing that the LSG has the constitution of an ox and would laugh at the idea of wasting something simply because of its ‘use by’ date – this is someone who, only a week ago, safely consumed a packet of microwave rice that was seven years past its ‘best before’ date! (Yes, YEARS!)
But I digress – this hummus was not out of date, but homemade! HOMEMADE! Who knew there was such a thing! I thought Sainsbury’s and M&S had cornered the market in hummus! HOMEMADE! And so a tub packed to its brim with hummus – HOMEMADE! – was duly put into the LSG’s bag along with the rosé and the anti-fascist book – oh, and a book about an Italian detective.
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/But this was not the end of the surprises at this very convivial social occasion – oh no! BSG then said that, when cutting BFG’s hair in the garden yesterday, he had missed a few bits, so he thought he might get at them while she was outdoors, at which point BFG asked if I would like to stay and watch! I was overcome! Such a personal invitation! And I was told that I could take photos if I wished! There is no end to this couple’s generosity! And to prove how enjoyable this event was, I have attached a small number of photos from the Sweeney Todd Barber Shop (Mickleover branch). I turned down the offer of having my own locks trimmed – I was anxious to get home and taste the hummus – HOMEMADE! – but I am expecting a delivery of meat pies next week