Curious Neighbour Child

I think I was treated to my first Curious Neighbour Child Conversation of the year this afternoon. I don’t think there’s been any prior to today, which had led me to believe that maybe, just maybe, he’d grown out of the need to ask questions about everything and anything while you were just casually minding your own business.

I was out in the shed dismantling things that needed to be dismantled, and putting things into buckets to go on their merry way to the tip when I was alerted to the presence of the Curious Neighbour Child by the following cry:

I can see your shed!

He wasn’t wrong. He could see the shed. Because, by its very nature, the shed is quite a visible garden feature. It also acts as a bit of the fence line between the two properties so, unless he was blind, you would hope that he could see it.

He then went on to ask me a series of questions about what I was doing – “I’m taking some things apart”, “Because they are being thrown away”, “Because we don’t want them anymore”. And then he told me that he could see the shed from the big rocks. Which through a series of questions, mainly “What rocks?” I eventually ascertained he meant that if he walked along the wall behind his own shed – basically into our garden – he could also see the shed.

They are heavy, the big rocks.

Again, you can’t fault him. They are heavy. Bloody heavy in some cases.

Does your mum know you’re doing that?

My mum? I wouldn’t expect she does, really. She’s miles away. I didn’t say any of that. I thought the best thing to do was just to humour him and say that yes, my mym did know what I was doing and that it was alright for me to be doing it.

I have a brother, you know.

I know you do, I’ve seen him.

No you haven’t.

Yes, I have. Lots of times. Lots and lots of times.

You’re going to have a big nose!

Why am I going to have a big nose?

Because you are telling lies.

But I have seen your brother.


Ok, I have only seen your brother once.


Where is your mum?

It was at around this point that I realised that the mum he was referring to was Carole. He thought that Carole was my mum.

I’ll be honest, I’ve still not corrected him…




Late Night Letterbox

There are a few rules that should always be observed in the evening.

An unexpected phone call after 9pm, for example, is never good news – with the level of bad news increasing with each subsequent hour that passes.

And anything shoved through your door at 10pm is unwelcome.

Because that’s what time the Kleeneze catalogue was delivered last night. Ten o’clock at night. Pushed through the door without a care in the world, with an order sheet saying it would be collected on Tuesday. As in today. As in, less than 24 hours to browse through the myriad things which could make your life easier in ways you couldn’t even begin to imagine and/or doorstops shaped like meerkats.

So while that was strange in itself, what was worse is the reaction that the catalogue had on Peppa. She went absolutely mental for it – possibly the first living creature in the history of the world ever to find a Kleeneze catalogue in anyway exciting.

She was so pleased to see it, in fact, that she hissed at me every time I tried to take it away from her. And not a friendly playful hiss. A really scary, long, drawn-out hiss which came across a little bit like “If you touch this catalogue I will cut you” in all honesty.

I couldn’t work out why she was acting the way she was acting until I was able to distract her enough to get the bloody thing off her.

It stunk.

It absolutely reeked of something – I don’t even want to think what – that clearly made a cat very protective of it. I’ll be honest, the bag the catalogue came in carried the heady aroma of a good strong widdle. Whether it was that which set Peppa off or whether it was a smell that I couldn’t detect – possibly one of another cat  – I don’t know, but sufficed to say the Kleeneze catalogue found its way onto the doorstep within about ten minutes of it arriving through the door. That way if Peppa did decide to go mental and shred it or hump it or whatever it smelt like she should be doing to it then, with a clean conscience, I could rest in the knowledge that it wasn’t done inside this house.




Sales Pitch

One of the things I enjoyed the most about the Good Food show was witnessing the demonstrations by people, on their stalls, trying to sell a variety of different gadgets which were mainly just blenders and/or slicers.

One, a kind of finger friendly mandolin affair, was not only £10 less than the recommended retail price but came with two free bonus items included. One was a thing which you could screw into the middle of a cucumber and would cut in a spiral shape and the other was a peeler which would not cut you if you peeled yourself.

To me, some issues immediately sprang to mind:

1) Why would you ever need a curly length of cucumber? Yes, you could use it for decoration, but would you really want to. Is it worth getting one of these things on the off-chance that you find yourself in a situation where your first thought is that what would really finish off a dish is a string of curly cucumber as a garnish?


2) Who has ever peeled themselves? Do people do that? Do people accidentally go at themselves with a peeler? If that’s the case, I’d argue that maybe – just maybe – that person shouldn’t be using a peeler in the first place as they’re clearly not competent. I mean, if you can’t work out where a fruit or vegetable ends and your own hand begins, then maybe being in the kitchen isn’t for you. After all, that’s just a peeler – later on comes knives and all sorts. It might be for the best if you just quit now.

But my award for the most needlessly included bit of patter in a sales pitch goes to a woman selling some sort of blender affair who said that it took her twenty-five years to work out that the main ingredient of a pasta sauce was tomatoes.

Twenty-five years for that breakthrough. Twenty-five years. You could fathom it out in a hell of a lot less time by just reading the labels on the jar, but I can only assume she sat down and carried out a series of tests on the pasta sauce over a period of several years as she tried to narrow down the constituent parts. “Is this red stuff tomato? It could be jam?” and so on and so forth. Her point was that you could make pasta sauces yourself, cheaply and easily, by just spending close to £100 on a blender-cum-whisk thingy. I’d argue you can make pasta sauces yourself cheaply and easily by just using a saucepan and a wooden spoon.

But then, I’m not desperately selling my wares to a group of disinterested people who are wondering why there’s not anything to eat on this stall…



Last night, I think it’s safe to say, I went to be ridiculously early.

Carole had already bedded down before I even considered heading for bed, but at half past eight(!) I decided that I would go up and lie in bed, playing a game on my phone until I fell asleep. Because, I reasoned, I wasn’t tired. But lying in bed was just as good as sitting or lying on the couch downstairs.

But I wasn’t tired. I most definitely wasn’t tired.

So that’s what I did. I went to bed, and I lay under the covers playing a game on my phone. For approximately three minutes before I drifted off to sleep, smacked myself in the face with my phone, jerked awake and decided that maybe I was tired after all and that I shouldn’t fight it anymore.

I let sleep win. I let the exertions of fighting through angry people drift from my body as my eyelids slammed shut and the grip of slumber took me away to a variety of strange and mysterious lands. Including one in which I got off a train to catch another train but mistakenly got back on the train I had just gotten off. My dreams are nothing if not exciting. No, wait, not exciting, just really badly organised.

I woke up though, feeling refreshed. As my eyes opened, I took in my surroundings. The bedroom was dark, it was quiet outside, and quiet from the neighbouring houses. I reasoned that I had been asleep for several hours and that it was somewhere in the early hours of the morning. After all, going to sleep at just after half eight would have meant that I’d have racked up a good six hours of kip by three o’clock, which would leave me feeling refreshed, alert and wondering what the hell I would do if I chose to got up at this ungodly hour in the morning.

I glanced at the clock, fully expecting the red digits to shine back a time close to that which I had deduced it to be.

They shone back a time, alright.


I was lying in bed, awake and considering getting up at a time before I go to bed on a normal day.

However, as I lay there pondering what to do, it became clear that I wasn’t actually as awake as I’d first thought as sleep grabbed me by the hand and pulled me through a myriad of subconscious adventures, none of which make sense now but made perfect sense then.

Not that I was tired, you understand. I could have got up at any time I liked.

I just chose to sleep for 12 whole hours.

That’s what I’m telling myself.

Food Glorious Food

We’ve been to the Good Food show in Harrogate today.

It’s been a really good day but, quite frankly, we’re knackered and glad to be home.

I think, during the course of the day, I’ve tried more different flavours of cheese than I’ve eaten in my lifetime up to this point. And, I think it’s safe to say, I’ve fallen in love with more different flavours of cheese than I’ve loved in my lifetime up to this point.

In short, there was a lot of cheese on offer today.

I bloody love cheese.

If I’d have known the vast quantities of cheese on offer I would have taken a load of buttered slices of bread with me and knocked up a few cheese sarnies using the various samples on offer. If I’d planned it properly, I could even have got my hands on some pickle to go in the sandwich and make things just perfect.

But putting all that aside, the Good Food show was good at showing a few things about people as a whole.

People just stop, don’t they, for no reason. Just stop. Randomly. In the middle of an already crowded aisle. Just stop. And stare, slack-jawed at something that is not immediately adjacent to them,  but which has captured their interest. And then these self same people – the ones who have ground to a halt – just tut at you if you want to get passed.

People are very intolerant of pushchairs. “Well,” said one woman with a mouth like a duck’s arse, “I wouldn’t even have brought a pushchair to a place like this. That’s just idiocy!” She said this as a woman was just wheeling a pushchair past. It was interesting to note, though, that the woman with the pushchair had bought things from a variety of different stalls, whereas the woman complaining had nothing.

People are very intolerant of oils. “There’s a lot of oils!” I heard someone complain. I’d clocked two or three stalls that sold oils. There were a gazillion stands that sold cheese. If anything, there was a lot of cheese. The cheese to oil ration was skewed in favour of cheese, there’s no doubt about that. But equally there was a lot of stands selling pickles and preserves, a lot selling cakes, and shitloads selling wines which made your face screw up. But, for the people of Harrogate, too much oil. I’ll tell you what there were too many of – cars. I mean, I know Lexus were sponsoring parts of the show, but I’d gone along to stab small pieces of cheese with a cocktail stick, not to spend £52000 on a new car.

But I had a thoroughly enjoyable day. I discovered that a room full of people can come dangerously close to giving Mary Berry a standing ovation for making a salmon en croute, and that if you ask nicely you get a Hairy Biker to write Happy Birthday to your dad inside on of his books.

And I discovered biscuit butter. A spread, like peanut butter, made out of caramelised biscuits.


If anyone wants me, I’ll be eating that out of the jar with a spoon.