Stuff what I have learned this week:
A very good day from the Lifestyle Support Guru! Today I am going to share with you some pieces of wisdom that I feel may help you, faithful followers, in your journey along this rocky road laughingly called ‘life’. As far as I can tell, ‘life’ is what you make it and what you make of it – in my case, perfection has almost been achieved. I say ‘almost’ because to say that I am perfect would be rather bold and would imply that I have nothing left to learn. Nothing could be further from the truth, beloved believers – I am constantly learning (for example, Spanish at the moment) and would never be so presumptuous as to think that I know everything (although some might accuse me of being a ‘know-it-all’, but I put that down to jealousy, pure and simple).
But I digress; here is what I have learned this week, which I hope will be of some use in your own miserable and worthless existences (and please do not think that I insult you by referring to your lives in such words; I use them only in a sense relative to the almost blissful state in which I, the LSG, exist). (Again, note the use of the word ‘almost’, showing my true humility.)
1. If you are on a diet (or, as I prefer to say, starving yourself to death), you would be wise to buy a packet of six corned beef slices from Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets are available but I haven’t checked their corned beef slices) rather than a packet of three, since there are fewer calories in each slice in the six-pack – in fact, 10 fewer calories per slice, saving you 60 calories in all! This difference in calories I regard as one of the great unsolved mysteries of the world.
2. If you visit a National Trust property with extensive grounds where the entrance is some distance from the car park, try to follow someone of ‘mature years’ to the initial information point where she will ask if it is possible to have a lift on the electric buggy to the entrance. With luck (of which I have an inordinate amount), she will turn around and ask if you would also like a lift – I admit I may have been looking a little fragile (a practised look) and I may (just ‘may’) have exaggerated the limp slightly – so you accept (reluctantly, of course) and drag youngest sibling on with you. At first he is a little unhappy at being driven on what is, essentially, an oversized mobility scooter, but soon starts enjoying himself when we use the royal wave as we zoom past the hordes making their way to the entrance on foot. Indeed, he enjoyed himself so much that it was he who insisted on ordering the buggy for the return journey after we had spent an exhausting hour eating parsnip and apple soup and perusing the items for sale in the shop. No calories were harmed in this activity.
3. If you decide to visit Leeds, be aware that it is a VERY big city. It takes EIGHT minutes just to walk from the car park to your hotel – you could do almost the whole of Derby in this time! This time does not include checking Google Maps every two minutes before realising it would be quicker to ask a passer-by for accurate directions, nor stopping to look in a shop window to admire a rather nice large, green, woolly scarf just right for winter and making a mental note to look for said scarf in the Derby branch of the shop (sibling’s comment: ‘Looks expensive.’ Personal thought: ‘And?’).
And there you have the collected wisdom of yet another LSG visit ‘oop north’ – next week I shall be buying a flat cap and a whippet after building a homing pigeon reserve in the back yard.
Being a Good Neighbour
A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru. Tonight I wish to offer some useful advice on how to be a BAD neighbour or a GOOD neighbour. I have recently ‘acquired’ a new neighbour and I have learned rapidly from this experience just exactly what constitutes a BAD neighbour and felt that you may benefit from my advice so that you can be a GOOD neighbour.
To be a BAD neighbour, you must:
1. be blonde, slim and athletic-looking and wear fitted clothing that shows off your figure to advantage. This will ensure that your GOOD neighbour feels totally inadequate.
2. have cleared your garden of all weeds and long grass, installed a nice wooden garden bench, put up a new clothes line and scrubbed the wall at the bottom of the garden of its coat of peeling paint, all within the space of a few days. Again, this will create great feelings of inadequacy in your GOOD neighbour.
3. have a housewarming party which is not too noisy and finishes at 10.30 pm, so that the GOOD neighbour feels guilty for wondering at what time she will be able to complain to the police.
4. fill your bin (which is about four feet high) to overflowing with black bin liners, then, in one bound, leap athletically and lithely on top of the aforementioned bin liners and jump up and down on them in a graceful manner to make sure they fit in the bin. This should be done when the GOOD neighbour has just returned from a hard morning’s shopping and is loaded down with purchases; by now the GOOD neighbour will be contemplating moving to find a more congenial neighbour.
5. enjoy the early evening warmth by sitting on the garden bench with an attractive man and sip delicately from a bottle of water rather than the glass of wine which the GOOD neighbour is contemplating whilst looking up house prices in a more downmarket area.
To be a GOOD neighbour, you must:
1. be overweight, wear loose clothing as a disguise and have greying hair. In this way, you create no feelings of insecurity in any other neighbours.
2. maintain what is known as a ‘wildlife garden’, ensuring that there are plenty of flowering weeds which are, apparently, attractive to bees. Thus, you are helping the environment.
3. have no parties because you do not wish to disturb your neighbours (and it would mean cleaning and tidying up and the cats don’t like parties, anyway).
4. only leap up and down (athletically or otherwise) when you tread on one of the cats or the drawing pin you forgot to pick up several days ago.
5. enjoy the early evening warmth by going out to the pub where, as far as you know, they don’t sell water. Thus, you are helping the local economy.
You will have gathered from this that being a GOOD neighbour is far less tiring and requires much less effort than being a BAD neighbour. In addition, you are saving energy environmentally because less electricity will be used if you are in the pub rather than sitting at home; added to this, you will also have had some physical exercise because you walked to the pub, although probably not quite as much exercise as jumping up and down in a bin, but with a far more enjoyable outcome.
And now let’s finish with a short chorus of: “Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…”
A very good afternoon to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru! Today I am going to share with you some thoughts on MAKING PLANS and THE WEEKEND, so that you have plenty of time to MAKE your own PLANS before the coming WEEKEND. You will also learn that MAKING PLANS does not always turn out as you expect. As always, the steps are easy to follow:
1. Inform sibling that you have free tickets for Warwick Castle and MAKE PLANS to visit.
2. Sibling decides on the day that he doesn’t really want to visit Warwick Castle after seeing TV ad which included lots of children in it. (We both prefer child-free venues – such as pubs.)
3. Suggest Workhouse at Southwell, Notts, but this doesn’t appeal either. (I think he thought they may well still be keeping children there – see point 2.)
4. Suggest Strutt’s Mill at Belper, which is just a bus ride away. Sibling seems quite taken with this idea, so you MAKE PLANS and invite along a friend as well.
5. Meet friend at bus stop at a reasonable hour (11 am) and he informs you that he has already
washed his windows, made a bacon sandwich, walked into town and back and put some washing out. (At this point you feel worn out and consider going back to bed – the walk to the bus stop was exhausting enough.)
6. On arriving at t’mill, you wait for the guide while friend starts talking about an ‘articulated python’ for some reason and an image of a large, jack-knifed snake on the M1 comes into your mind. Sweetly, you enquire, ‘Do you mean a ‘reticulated python’? and friend says they’re the same thing. Sigh and hope guide turns up soon.
7. The three of you have a tour round t’mill with Barry the tour guide, who is absolutely delighted to find that your companions have a genuine interest in the engineering aspects of the weaving machines, although he couldn’t answer the question ‘Why do they go backwards and forwards?’. (WARNING: do NOT visit places with machines if your companions work in metallurgy or on the railways and you personally have no interest in engineering, other than the essentials such as knowing how to use a corkscrew.)
8. Before returning home, you make a small detour via a little micropub (well, I suppose a micropub will be small, by definition!) that has been recommended by some other friends who also have an interest in real ales (I choose my friends carefully!). Inside the pub, as a feature, is what looks like an old, small motorbike; friend, after examining it closely, confidently declares to all and sundry: ‘That’s either a Raleigh or a Dennis Hughes.’ (as I thought he said at the time). With an air of triumph (not the motorbike manufacturers, ha ha!) he turns to the barman who promptly tells him that it’s a Mobylette from France. Sad face from friend. (For those who know about motorbikes, friend didn’t say it was a ‘Dennis Hughes’ but an ‘NSU’. Still no wiser, but at least I know my reticulated pythons from my articulated ones! Or maybe he meant Kaa, the ‘articulate’ python in the Jungle Book?)
9. Finish the day off by going to a local Chinese buffet where friend attempts to pour a glass of wine while the top is still on the bottle. As I said earlier, I choose my friends carefully!
So there you have it, dear followers and acolytes – PLANNING a weekend is easy; it’s actually following the PLANS that’s difficult! You have all of Thursday and Friday to MAKE YOUR OWN PLANS!