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).
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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

Out and About

Hello, hello, hello! Lifestyle Support Guru here to tell you that I have ‘had the call’ and I wished to share the experience with you all!
What an exciting morning – I had somewhere important to go, so I spent more time doing my hair and face than I have done in the whole of the last six months, debated with myself about what to wear and then headed off for my… vaccination!
You are told to wear something that will allow easy access to your upper arm – I decided against a little off-the-shoulder number and opted for a cosy cardi. It was at the Derby Arena, which doubles as a velodrome, so I thought I might be able to have a spin round the track afterwards, but no chance, I’m afraid, so that’s my yearly exercise opportunity blown.https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/
There were so many people there, but no one to talk to because we were all socially distanced, so no chance of swapping lockdown horror stories or exchanging tips on how to make a Pot Noodle more interesting. You are given the vaccination (Pfizer, if you’re interested; David had AstraZeneca the other day, so we’re a ‘mix’n’match’ household), then you have to sit for 15 minutes – this is so they can check that you don’t suddenly start frothing at the mouth (or worse) after the jab. Being the LSG, I didn’t froth (or worse), so they let me go and off I headed to my next destination – Sainsbury’s!
I wasn’t expecting anything too thrilling to happen here, but that is just when life springs surprises on you! Who would have thought that a visit to Sainsbury’s would offer the opportunity for wildlife photography AND a treasure hunt! As I was idly wandering up the fruit aisle, wondering whether to get some bananas (I like bananas, but I forget about them and then they go all squidgy, and I don’t like squidgy bananas), a blackbird suddenly flew across my path, heading straight for the apples, where it perched, looking for all the world as if it simply couldn’t decide between the red ones or the green ones (I couldn’t help because I don’t like apples of any shade). It then flew behind the apple boxes, playing hide-and-seek with the extremely callow assistant who had been fetched by another customer. The assistant looked more puzzled and concerned than the blackbird! The blackbird then flew off to sit above the bananas and stayed there posing while I took a picture – I think I might enter it for a wildlife photography award.
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Who wants to look at lions in the Serengeti when you can admire blackbirds among the bananas! The last I saw of it, it was heading for the salad section.
And then Sainsbury’s sprang another surprise on me – this was exciting, even for the LSG, who usually takes everything in her stride… they had moved the food sections around since I last visited! Heady stuff indeed! Where I was expecting orange juice, there was now yoghurt; baked beans had taken the place of individual trifles; cheese had been replaced by salad dressing! It really was like a treasure hunt… and that’s how I ended up with a selection of party dips, two slices of gala pie and some salmon ‘slowly smoked for 12 hours over oak and whisky cask chippings’, none of which had been on my original shopping list!
After such excitement, I felt it was time to go home for a lie-down and a quick froth at the mouth. What a day! Lockdown has never been so exciting! And I’ve still got my ‘Virtual Italy’ class to look forward to this evening! I shall be quite worn out!

A Lifesaving Mission

Hello, hello, hello, Faithful Followers! Lifestyle Support Guru here, hoping to help you lead a more fulfilling life in the present circumstances. Today I am going to tell you how to bring a little excitement into your lives, even though we are on lockdown again and are meant to be sheltering inside our houses. I must say that, given the freezing weather and the fog, that’s where you should be, anyway!https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/
Sibling-I-share-a-house-with and I had to go out this morning on an important mission, but we were a little concerned that we would be stopped by the local constabulary and asked the purpose of our journey and whether it was absolutely essential. The sibling even went so far as to ask, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ I had checked through the rules and decided that our journey was perfectly acceptable (and the LSG is a law unto herself, anyway) but we practised looking serious, just in case. This means not telling any jokes half an hour before leaving the house.
We went outside and started scraping the car clear of frost, but in an unhurried and casual manner, as if it were something we were doing just to pass the time and as a means of exercise, just in case a police car should pass by and eye us suspiciously. Windscreen and lights cleared, we set off on our perilous journey through the ice and fog, finding our way barred at one point by a ‘Road Ahead Closed’ notice, requiring a diversion which took us straight past the police station! Luckily, the said station was closed down several years ago and is now a Premier Inn. A close shave, though!
We continued without further incident and arrived safely at our destination, having encountered no police cars or roadblocks checking if our journey was really necessary.
I delivered the lifesaving parcel, leaving sibling sitting in the car with the engine running in case of a need for a quick getaway (it was to keep the car warm, really). The friend to whom it was delivered answered the door in a summer top, accompanied by her young daughter in a sleeveless party dress. The LSG was more suitably dressed in a vest top (black), warm jumper (white), even warmer coat (orange) and gloves (red). Oh, and light green shoes – a vision of sartorial elegance!
The friend did admit to being cold, especially since she said she’d also left a window open by accident and we stood chatting at the open door for 5 minutes, but otherwise I find nothing wrong with home-schooling in a floaty summer top and a party dress – enjoy life in your own way, I say!
We then wended our weary way home (a whole 9 miles) and made it safely back, having accomplished our mission. And what was the valuable parcel? One of life’s essentials – a roll of bubble wrap! 😊Stay safe!