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…
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.
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Having swapped our various items, including a bottle of out-of-date beer, which happened to be lying around in the LSG’s kitchen, BFG suddenly asked – apropos of nothing – if I liked hummus!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
A Wet Weekend in Worcester
Hello, Beloved Believers! Here I am again, the Lifestyle Support Guru, fresh from my annual rugby trip with a few followers, this time to Worcester, which is a very nice place to visit, with lots of pubs and friendly people who were quite happy to let us eat and drink well after the time they were going to close – well done, Worcesterians, or whatever people from Worcester may be called.
However, not everything was perfect, starting with sibling’s choice of transportation for his change of clothing for the weekend. We have a range of cases and holdalls, from small to large, to cover all holiday eventualities, but his personal preference? A large, bright blue recycling bag with ‘GLASS’ printed in large letters on the side. I didn’t ask what he had done with the actual recycling …
We collected the Tiny Tyke and set off, arriving in good time and just ahead of the other party members whom I shall call Nigel and Ian for the sake of anonymity. This early arrival turned out to be very fortuitous because, somehow, Nigel – to be referred to as NN (Nigel the Nincompoop) from now on – had made a real mess of his booking. I shall try to explain this.
NN only had one job and that was to book two rooms – one for him, one for Ian; he managed to book three: two through the hotel chain’s central reservation and one through an agency – the LSG is still trying to follow the logic of that. On top of that, he booked them for the wrong date! One job, Nigel, that’s all you had! That was not the end of it by any means, though. He changed the dates – or so he thought – and offered one of the rooms to the LSG, who had not yet booked her allocation for the Derby Deputation. The offer was accepted and the LSG went on to book two more rooms for sibling and TT (Tiny Tyke). All’s well that ends well – or does it? It turned out that only two of the three rooms had been changed to the correct date and that the other one had been classed as a ‘no show’ for the previous weekend, so we were one room short. When I say ‘we’, I mean NN was short of a room… To cut a long story short, the LSG, TT and recycling sibling went off to the pub while NN and Ian the Intelligent tried to sort out the rooms. The story ended with NN having to check into another hotel, but that’s for another day …
What else did the LSG learn about Worcester? Well, I knew it was posh because it has a Waitrose, but this Waitrose has … a wine bar!! That’s a difficult decision – shopping or wine bar? Wine bar or shopping? It’s a little bit like baked beans and sherry trifle – both nice, but you wouldn’t put them together (well, you might if you’re the TT because he likes weird mixtures of food, but there again, he IS from Yorkshire). Even the LSG wouldn’t combine shopping and wine, much as she enjoys both – that way lies disaster and a much-depleted bank account!
There was much laughter and jollity over the weekend ( although most of it shouldn’t be repeated in polite company) and much quaffing of alcoholic drinks and I would recommend Worcester as a place to visit, but don’t – I repeat, DON’T – let the Nincompoop book your rooms. Let your mantra be: Leave it to the LSG!
The Cost Of Being Single
A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru.
I decided to write this after reading an article in that esteemed, if just the teensiest bit left-wing, newspaper, The Grauniad (not to be confused with its sister paper, The Guardian), about the TRUE cost of being single.
‘Aha!’ I thought, ‘someone else who has wondered why M&S doesn’t do a ‘Dine in for One for £5 with free bottle of wine’, instead of assuming that everyone has someone with whom they wish to share their Gastropub Fish Pie or Gastropub Steak Lasagne with a side of Wild Rocket (that’s a SIDE dish?? That’s just a few pieces of grass which stick in your teeth and tickle your throat, making you cough and choke!)
He Doesn’t Like Vegetables!
In fact, come to think of it, there are probably people who are NOT single who would not wish to share their Gastropub Fish Pie or Gastropub Steak Lasagne, but they are called ‘greedy’ (and they’d probably go for the side dish of Chunky Chips rather than the Wild Rocket, and the other person in their life wouldn’t even get a look in at the Profiterole Stack).
But I digress. How disappointed I was when I read the article in full and found that it was just a whiney piece by some woman who was bemoaning the fact that she hadn’t found her rock, her soulmate, her ‘yang’ to her ‘yin’, her Andy Pandy to her Looby Loo, her Simon to her Garfunkel, her Thelma to her Louise (I’m being fully inclusive here), and how the government is bleeding her dry because of that. She came up with one or two interesting facts, I have to say – there are more unmarried women alive today than at any point in history, apparently, although I’m not sure if this will still be the same tomorrow or the day after…
However, on the plus side, I find I’ve saved money because she says, on average, women spend £1,280 a year on dates. The obvious answer is – just don’t go on dates, you stupid woman!
Hah! Bet some of you thought I was going to make some obvious, sexist remark about how women shouldn’t pay on dates anyway – believe me, I learned my lesson on that a long time ago in Redditch (where I was working at the time) when my date paid for the meal but said I could choose the wine since I spoke French (logic?) then said he only drank Liebfraumilch (not my favourite tipple, as Beloved Believers will know). Not only that, when he drove me back to my flat and I politely asked him if he wanted a coffee – hoping he’d say no – he produced a LITRE bottle of Liebfraumilch from the back seat and said we could drink that instead. He got coffee.
To compound matters, as he was leaving shortly after (I made him drink his coffee very quickly), he gave me a goodnight kiss and said I was a very sweet person. SWEET? SWEET?? SWEET??? The LSG may be many things – all-seeing, all-knowing, all over the place, but SWEET??? Reader, I did not marry him…
But I have strayed from the subject again. There are times when I feel aggrieved because I have to pay a supplement for being single (hotels, holidays, that sort of thing) but they have not yet started charging a premium on single women drinking wine, and that is something for which I am eternally grateful… unless someone from the government reads this and thinks, ‘What a jolly wheeze! Let’s start a new tax for all those people drinking on their own, even if they’re happy doing that. In fact, let’s tax them even more simply because they’re happy being on their own!’ They’d make a fortune from at least three people in my family!
Have a good weekend, dear LSG followers. I shall spend it avoiding anywhere and anyone that offers me a glass of Liebfraumilch…
… and paying for my own meal.
Hello, hello, hello! I realise that it has been quite some time since I offered any advice, but life has been its usual hectic, never-ending round of parties and trips abroad.
Actually, when I say ‘parties’, I really mean saying ‘hello’ to one or two people in the local and a Christmas meal with the charity committee from the local.
And when I say ‘abroad’, I really mean York, where I spent Christmas with the unmarried siblings. We had a jolly time, even bumping into the Tiny Tyke (TT) unexpectedly when he bounded up to us like an overexcited puppy in the first pub we visited! And he didn’t spill a drop of his drink as he bounded up to us, which rather impressed us!
Anyway, I digress, since this is about losing weight – but fear not! I have not succumbed to offering advice about the dreaded post-Christmas/New Year diet – no point, because you’ll only have to do it all again next year. No, this is about a medical ‘procedure’, as operations are now called. But fear not! I have not had a gastric band fitted or gone for liposuction (that could create a fatberg all of its own!). This was a ‘female’ procedure, so the boys may want to look away now. But fear not! I shall not be going into the details of the ‘procedure’ – no, no, no! The LSG has far more discretion.
All you need to know is that this required the removal of ‘bits’ which were considered ‘at risk’, although not at any life-threatening level, and I was only in for a day, although it seemed longer, since I had to be at the hospital at 7.30 in the morning, which, for the past seven years, I hadn’t realised existed any more. In addition, I was put last on the list (they obviously didn’t know who I am), which meant that, by the time they eventually got to me, I had answered questions such as ‘Are you wearing any make-up?’ (obvious answer – NO!) and ‘Do you have any body piercings?’ (also NO!), as well as ‘Do you still live at …?’ (answer – I haven’t had the chance to move house in the last eight hours) several times, even within two minutes of each other. I realise the NHS has to be careful, but there are limits…
I survived, despite the surgeon passing me a consent form for the ‘procedure’ and asking me to ‘sign my life away’ – not quite what one wishes to hear from the person who has your life in their hands. She smiled in a rather evil way, I thought, when I said, ‘I hope not!’ – jealousy of the LSG, I believe.
When I came round, I felt as if I had drunk several bottles of a strong red wine (Shiraz, perhaps?) without the benefit of going through the enjoyable phase! Youngest sibling came to collect me in the evening – not because he had a deep desire to travel from Hull to spend a Friday evening with the LSG (although many would!), but because next-youngest sibling had to go to a play rehearsal in the evening and it is recommended that you are not left on your own for 24 hours after a ‘procedure’ and Molly-the-all-black-cat was not considered a suitable companion. However, she ended up being my carer anyway, since I sent the two siblings off to the pub. There are limits to how long one can bear looking at the faces of two men who wish they were anywhere rather than sitting watching a woman who’s just had ‘bits’ removed and who don’t want ANY of the details!
I am recovering well – provided I wear elasticated trousers and ‘big’ knickers and don’t cough, sneeze or laugh.
And the weight loss? How much do ovaries weigh?