2.335 Remnants

Pretty early on in our relationship I learnt that Carole’s hobbies would never just be confined to a desk or any other kind of work surface you would care to imagine. It was only a matter of a few weeks before I came to learn that there would, for all time, be three of us in this relationship. Me, Carole and the remnants of Carole’s hobby.

Now, I have a couple of main hobbies – gaming and writing. There was a time when they went hand-in-hand, but now they’re two separate things. But the one thing they both have in common is that neither of my hobbies provide remnants that you may find, say, stuck to the bottom of your socks a few days later, or down at the foot-end of the bed.

Carole enjoys crafting. One of the by-products of a healthy crafter is waste. Little bits of card, paper, ribbon and such like that are trimmed away from the finished design. Now, try as you might, not all of these remnants will end up in a bin. Some will inevitably end up on the floor. Even more so now that we seem to have a cat who enjoys nothing more than playing with litter – you try to scrumple anything up and throw it away in this house and you’ll find it, a while later, on the carpet slightly damp from cat spit.

My first introduction to the remnant problem was in not long after I started spending weekends at Carole’s. It was only a matter of time before you’d be lying in bed and move your feet only to find that you could feel the sharp point of something pressing into your foot. Or you’d be walking around the house in your socks (and other clothes as well, naturally. Or unnaturally, I suppose) when you’d feel that something was a little bit off.

Further examination would show that you were sharing the bed, not only with your beloved, but with various off-cuts of card usually, for some reason, triangular in shape. Or that attached to the bottom of your sock would be a square sticky-foam pad most commonly used to add dimension to a card by raising an image, say, up from the card stock (I know all the jargon, me). Sometimes you’d find these things a short while later. Maybe upon removing washing from the machine you’d spot that it had a foam pad attached to it. Or several foam pads. Or you’d go to make the bed and find enough card to keep the staff at Hobbycraft happy.

More recently, Carole’s taken up jewelry making.

I only mention this because a couple of days ago a bead rolled out of my underwear when I went to the toilet.



2.334 Faking It

I had to make a promise last night. In the middle of Tesco’s, in Brighouse, I had to make a solid promise to Carole. In Tesco’s. Which is not really somewhere you think you’ll be asked to make a commitment to something. You know, standing by the chiller fridges that hold all the sandwiches and bottles of pop and wotnot. I never would have thought I’d find myself in the situation. But there I was.

“Promise me!” she said, quite scarily, and stared at me intently.

I could feel my pulse quickening. I wanted to look away, but I didn’t dare. I didn’t dare break eye contact with her, because she might think that I wasn’t capable of this kind of commitment. That I wasn’t sold on the idea. That I would go back on what we agreed on as soon as I possibly could. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty.

“Come on, promise me this will just be for a couple of years. Just promise me that otherwise I won’t do it.”

I needed her to do it, though. We had to do it. It was something we needed to do together. And, all being well, it probably only would be a couple of years. That sounded reasonable, I supposed. But was it long enough? I really wanted her to go with me on this, to take the plunge and dive in with both feet. I guess a couple of years would work out ok. And it would be two years where we didn’t have to spend ages tidying up afterwards, I guess and still finding remnants of our shenanigans a few months later, stuck in the carpet.

“Ok,” I said. “A couple of years and then we can go back to how it used to be.” I still wasn’t sure. I still wasn’t sure that two years would be enough time. But it wasn’t an unreasonable request, giving the circumstances and I’m sure with the proper training we would be able to work within that time scale. I mean, how hard can it be to dissuade someone from doing something they shouldn’t do?

“Yeah,” I said again, more confidently this time. “A couple of years. That’s all.”

“Ok,” she said. “Because if you hadn’t agreed to that then I don’t know what I’d have done. I’m not putting up with this for more than a couple of years.”

All that for an artificial Christmas tree…



2.333 Silver Linings Playbook

I’ve broken a cardinal rule. And, you know what, I think I’m ok with it. Because, in the end it was worth it. You see, I have a rule that I generally don’t see films when people are throwing Oscar nominations around because I usually find them a little bit crap. But that rule went out of the window with Silver Linings Playbook. And I’m really glad it did. Although, in my defense, I kind of fancied seeing it when I first saw the trailer which was waaaaay before anyone mentioned anything about Oscar nominations and had more to do with it featuring Jennifer Lawrence than anything else, but we’ll gloss over that bit in case Carole reads this and tells me off. Which she will, while conveniently forgetting that she fancies the arse off Bradley Cooper.

The film – based on the book by Matthew Quick (which is also really good) – tells the story of Pat, a bipolar guy who has spent some time in a mental institution before being released into the care of his parents, and his efforts to win back his wife, Nikki, who wants nothing to do with him following an “incident”. Through the course of the story, Pat’s always looking for the silver linings and, to show Nikki he’s a better person, ends up helping a friend, Tiffany, with a little dance project.

And it’s really good. The trailer does imply that it’s more of a comedy than it actually is but other than that it’s pretty much spot on. Bradley Cooper is surprisingly good at playing a role completely different to the “look at me, I have a dazzling smile” roles I’ve seen him in before and Jennifer Lawrence is really good too. Although it did take a little while for my brain to stop telling me that  Katniss Everdeen would never say “fuck” everytime she said “fuck”. Which was quite a few times, let me tell you. And Chris Tucker was amazing. He was as un-Chris Tucker as I have ever seen anyone be. Normally, he’s too much to take. Normally I want to hurt him anyway I can just to stop his relentless yapping. In this film I was actually sad he wasn’t in more of the film, because when he was there, playing Pat’s “only black friend” (as the book describes him) Danny, he was really rather good.

It was, however, quite a disappointing turn out at the cinema for a film that’s only been out a week. But then, I feel sorry for any film that’s up against the clashing hormones of the last bit of the Twiglet Saga – which had droves of people pouring into it –  because this film deserved a lot more people seeing it. But then, we were in the half past six showing so maybe that’s the reason. Who knows, at the nine o’clock one maybe the place is heaving.

Awesome film.

2.332 Yog-no-hurt

“My mum had a fall recently,” says a woman on an advert, busy putting milk away in the fridge.

And you let out a little sigh when you think it’s going to be another advert about blaming and claiming.

“She knew calcium was important,” she continues, making a nice reference to the milk she’s just put away. Very smooth. She’s not finished, though. “But what I’ve just found out is that Vitamin D is important as well.” And then the advert turns out to be about yoghurt and having next to nothing to do with an old lady who may or may not have fallen recently.

The yoghurt, you see, is a magical yoghurt. It’s yoghurt, packed full of calcium which is good for bones, but it’s also got Vitamin D in it as well. Which makes the calcium stay in the bones or something. And, according to this advert, if you eat this yoghurt you are less likely to fall over and break something. It’s some kind of miracle yoghurt.

Vitamin D can by synthesised from cholesterol with adequate sun exposure, so presumably this yoghurt has been developed due to the fact that the weather has been pretty shitty of late and no-one’s really seen anything resembling adequate sun exposure for quite some time. Either that or all these cholesterol reducing yoghurt drinks that the likes of Carol Vorderman peddle when she’s not pretending that she invented sudoku or the internet or consolidation loans, packed full of friendly bacteria, have reduced the cholesterol levels of the nation to such low proportions that even with adequate sun exposure we’re no longer capable of synthesising Vitamin D anyway. 

And so, as a result of this, fictional old people who would fall over for the sake of an advert could shatter into a million cabbage-scented pieces.

But not if they eat this yoghurt.

Eat this yoghurt and you will never fall and be hurt again.

I can’t remember what it’s called, mind.

So I might just have a Ski yoghurt in a patch of sunlight and hope for the best.

2.331 Cake Expectations

“No, it’s fine,” I said, full of the joys of spring, “I’ll just stay up until it’s cooled and then put it away before I come to bed.”

That was me, at something approaching half past five yesterday as we slid out first ever Christmas cake into the oven for its four-and-a-half-hour long cookathon.

“It’ll be done cooking by ten,” I said, still confident that I would be awake. “Couple of hours to cool down and I can pop it away. Sorted.”

It was agreed. That is what we would do.

And that is what we did, but I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a position where you are so tired that you are trying to use mental powers to extract any residual heat from a cake, but that was the position I found myself in last night. I mean, everything was going swimmingly with removing it from the oven and leaving it to cool in the tin, it was just the time after that. The time when you’re silently screaming up at the heavens and asking how long it can possibly take for a cake to cool down.

And, while you’re doing all this you’re also eyeing up the couch for a quick nap when one of the cats jumps upon it – the one that dislikes any kind of attempt to dislodge her – and spreads out, almost as if she knows that, for the next hour or so, you’ve got to hang around while the heat escapes from the fruit-filled gloriousness in the kitchen.

I’ll play on the Xbox, I think to myself, only to nod off in front of the TV with the controller in my hand and practically soil myself when something in the game makes my control pad vibrate. Snapped awake, I think I’ll be able to play for a while – fuelled by the adrenalin pumping through my system – making it about five minutes before I can feel myself falling asleep again and in danger of slumping forward to sleep with my head on the carpet and my arse in the air. Not the most dignified position, I’m sure you’ll agree.

As it turns out, I manage to snatch a nap curled up in the armchair. I don’t know how long I’m asleep for, but when I awaken the cake is cold and I can, at last, pack it away and head up to bed.

Where I lie, awake, for a good thirty minutes.

Completely unable to sleep.