Advance warning – I am jumping on the bandwagon and I am writing my memoirs!
Happy New Year
Hello, hello, hello and a very happy New Year! Have you forgotten who I am? Have you found other gurus to adore and worship? I do hope not. I haven’t forgotten about you, I can assure you. I just felt I needed time to find myself again and, lacking the funds to relocate to California to do this, as some have done, I have been going to the pub instead. It was during one of these visits that I had the idea to write a book about my life, giving all the salacious details about my family and the rows and adventures that we had. Strangely, someone else seems to have had a similar idea…
I recall one particularly vicious argument many years ago in Wales with one of my male siblings – I’ll call him David for the sake of anonymity – about a baked bean. I had been out for the evening, as had David, and we arrived home at about the same time. We were both hungry and decided to heat up some baked beans our mother had left in a pan. We chose to do the whole gourmet scene and added toast as well, arranging the beans artfully on top. We took it in turns to eat until there was just one bean left. I regarded it as MY baked bean because it was my turn to eat, but David snaffled it before I could get my fork into it. And there it was – gone! A red mist came down in front of my eyes and I screamed that that should have been MY bean and that David had always been a selfish so-and-so. I then stormed off to bed, much aggrieved, convinced that I was starving to death because I hadn’t had my full share of beans. I think alcohol may have played a part. I’m still waiting for the apology for stealing food from under my nose.
Then there was the occasion, again in Wales, when youngest male sibling – who guards his privacy jealously, so I won’t call him Trefor – and I had a jumping competition over a low white fence around the next door neighbour’s front garden. It didn’t end well. We had been out for the evening and it seemed a jolly good idea when we got back into our street to see if we could both jump over the little white fence next door before going into our house. I went first and caught my foot on the fence, falling onto the gravel path inside the fence. I was laughing so much I couldn’t get up before Trefor took his turn and did exactly the same thing, catching his foot and falling – but not onto the path. Oh no… he fell onto my head! I think alcohol may have played a part. Still laughing, we went home, but when I got up the next morning, my hair was plastered to the side of my face where it had been scraped by the gravel as youngest sibling landed on my head! I was deeply hurt when I went to the doctor that morning, an old family friend, to ask for some antibiotics and he said, ‘How did you do that? Do I get the truth or the story you’ve probably told your mother?’ He was quite right, of course! (I’ll tell you the tale I told my mother another time.) I’m still waiting for the apology for sitting on my head.
Of course, none of these incidents was my fault – it is other people who made me the victim of starvation and injury. The LSG doesn’t admit to fault – near-perfection is faultless. I will leave you on that note. Plenty more to come!
PS Recollections may differ.
I first published this advice in 2013 when we must have been going through a heatwave (seems like we survived that one), so I felt it appropriate to publish it again!
WARNING! Lifestyle support guru back again, offering some sound advice on how to deal with the heatwave. There is a real danger of HEAT EXHAUSTION in these temperatures, so my advice is…DO NOTHING and that way you won’t become exhausted.
- Forget the hoovering: that can be done when it’s raining;
- forget the ironing: wear linen as much as you can – it looks creased within five minutes of putting it on anyway, so nobody will know that you haven’t actually ironed it;
- don’t cook: it will increase the temperature in your house, so eat lettuce instead because it’s really boring and you won’t want to eat it, so you’ll have the added benefit of losing weight; and finally,
- SAVE WATER and help the local economy at the same time: go to the pub and drink beer instead!
I have followed all these rules and I can honestly say that I don’t feel in the least exhausted.
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.
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).
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
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.
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’.
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.)
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.
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
It is months and months and months since I last wrote anything to help you cope with life and all its pitfalls, but even I, the Lifestyle Support Guru, could not have foreseen the arrival of coronavirus and the fallout from it. I hope you have all come through it safely, if not sanely. There is so much I could tell you (although it’s a little late to offer advice now) and I have made many discoveries during Lockdown (I afford it the importance of a capital letter because it completely changed my life, as you will learn).
As part of the change in our lives because of Lockdown, younger sibling and I have been watching much more television, even though the pubs are open again, and we decided to watch The Revenant last night because neither of us had seen it and we wanted to see if it deserved its Oscars. If you haven’t seen it and intend to, beware that there are spoilers!
What a tedious film! I thought the grizzly bear was more deserving of an Oscar than DiCaprio, who spent most of the film grunting and staring around him; at least the bear showed a bit of emotion as she tried to kill him for getting in between her and her cubs, although she wouldn’t really have come out of hibernation at that time of year anyway, but maybe I’m being picky.
I suppose the scenery wouldn’t have been as spectacular later in the year when all the snow had disappeared (which it did completely in one scene, then reappeared in the next!). And as for the number of times DiCaprio got soaked through by wading across rivers or floating down rapids but never once succumbed to hypothermia – what can I say? And not a sign of septicaemia from his wounds – you only have to walk past a hospital in this country and you’re hit by it!
The director obviously liked scenery shots, particularly of tall trees – it was rather like a French film, but with lingering shots of the snow-covered treetops instead of heroines gazing into the distance (see my previous film review
). I would also have liked subtitles all the way through, not just when the Native Americans or French were talking – in common with many other American films, I found the speech garbled and almost incomprehensible at times, although, admittedly, DiCaprio had a large hole in his throat, made by the aforementioned bear, which clearly made speaking a little difficult. But Tom Hardy seemed to garble at times and then at other times spoke in a clear English accent!
The film was described as ‘an immersive and visceral cinematic experience capturing one man’s epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit.’ on Rotten Tomatoes. ‘Extraordinary power of the human spirit’ – you can say that again! I couldn’t have got through it without that power – and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc!
Watch it if you must! I shall stick to Carry On and James Bond films from now on, I think!