Hello Lovely Sainsbury’s Peoples

Hello lovely Sainsbury’s peoples,

I’m not quite sure where to start with this one. I don’t want to complain, as such, just raise a few issues and get some money back. It’s not a complaint. Because you guys are only human and mistakes do happen. And being a dick about it doesn’t help anyone.

Our order this morning was lacking a pack of 12 Highland Spring waters (500ml) amounting to 2.50’s worth of water filtered by the rocks of a mountain somewhere in the Highlands. We didn’t realise at the time. It was only as we arrived home from being out, on a hot day, to a message from the water board saying we may have low pressure or no water and I smugly thought “But we have bottled…” that the penny dropped. And rolled. And then fell down a really small crack that you’d never get it out of. You know, one of those situations where you’d say something like “fiddlesticks!”

So there was that.

The other issue with the order was that we did – until we returned them in bewilderment – receive two packs of Sainsbury’s brand Ibuprofen. We had not ordered these, or paid for them. We didn’t even have a headache or anything. We gave them back to the driver of the van.

When I build the narrative for this in my head, someone in Huddersfield has a banging headache and tons of water, and we had no water but loads of painkillers. It makes me smile. It also makes me wonder if something happened in the van like, I don’t know, did the driver roll it at some point this morning and everything just got jumbled up? Maybe there are bad elves. Maybe your shoppers apply the Subway sandwich method to the shopping now – throw everything at the bread and whatever sticks is what you get. It could literally be anything.

Like I say, only human and mistakes are made. I just thought you could pass it on to the store.

Maybe not the bit about the elves.

Normally the store is absolutely spot on. Occasionally a ball is dropped. Sometimes you have to wonder if the person doing the shop knows what the original item is before they substitute it for something that’s not even related. You know, there can be issues. I get that.

Can I have my £2.50 back for the water? I’ll need the money to reimburse myself for the materials I had to buy to make one of those condensation stills in the back garden, like Bear Grylls would make out of stuff he conveniently found on a beach in the middle of nowhere.

By morning I hope to have at least an egg cup full of water.

Yours in thirst,



Carni-value My Eardrums

I got to enjoy another carnival from work today.

I’ve lived in Huddersfield for over ten years and have avoided all carnivals like the plague, and then I have to suffer through two this year. So far. There will probably be more before the year is out.

Today’s carnival rubbed me up the wrong way from the outset when I set off for work far earlier than I needed to so I could avoid the start of any nonsense and it took nearly an hour to make a twenty minute journey. I’d have set off even earlier if I’d known.

And then town was chaos as there were people who don’t normally enter the town centre just meandering round absolutely bewildered and a pub at the top of town blaring out music to get everyone in the carnival mood.

I’m not sure what other people’s carnival mood was, but mine was not a good one.

Some four hours later the carnival went past work. Well, now, more accurately it stopped outside work for ages as cars kept appearing on a road that was closed and blocked off by police, which was just weird.

Now, when it was the Irish Parade or whatever it was called, I commented that it was made up of a series of vans following each other, with each one playing louder music than the one in front. But at least it was live music. Today, it was lorry after lorry loaded with amps and massive speakers upon which a series of people were DJing. And each one was louder than that which went before because, you know, reasons.

So what it actually amounted to was a constant low frequency bass rumble that lasted for about half an hour until it went out of earshot. It was, to put it lightly, fucking awful. Absolutely fucking awful. I had to send a message to the people in one of our rooms to say that I couldn’t hear a single thing they were doing. They couldn’t hear each other. It was ridiculously loud, and just awful as each truck blended with the next.

It’s the sort of sound you’d see (hear) on a movie and an evil genius had discovered he could liquify human organs with it. It was that. I could feel everything vibrating.

It was like our neighbours on a Sunday afternoon, just slightly louder. I could stay home to listen to that bollocks through the wall. I don’t need it dawdling down the streets as well.

I’m not sure what enjoyment you can actually get from it. The sound was just so off-putting. If it had just been one truck and the front and one at the back, then maybe you’d have got away with it. Or, you know, if anyone had any idea how sound worked or interference patterns and all that shit maybe they could have planned out the spacing a bit better. Or if people knew that turning up the volume doesn’t always maintain sound quality. There were a number of factors. All of which made it awful.

Sure, there’s costumes and it brings communities together and all that crap – I’m not a complete curmudgeon – but there are surely better ways to do it than a thumping bass track and the feeling of everything inside you running out of every orifice.

Do you remember when carnivals used to be fun? And there’d be dancers and floats and steel drums and stuff like that? Now it’s all DJs with stupid names and shit music.

Maybe I am a complete curmudgeon.

I’m sure, when Monday’s Huddersfield Examiner comes out, they’ll say it was marvellous. The best yet. Amazing. Biggest turn out. Best day for it. All that jazz.

But honestly, it was fucking awful.



Frantic Fringe

We’ve – I’ve – left booking things for the Edinburgh Fringe a lot later this year.

I don’t know why, really. I think, in part it’s to do with the fact that a lot of our staple shows – our go to guys, if you like – are not there this year, or are on for limited runs at the wrong end of the month. It’s not just one or two people, either, it’s droves of them. Actually, honest-to-goodness droves.

It’s a lot, anyway.

So I’ve not really been as excited about it as I should be, and so I’ve just put it off until it’s bordering on scary late in the month and things are selling out on days we want to see them.

The way our trip falls, at the moment, is that we hit the 2-for-1 days at the start of the month. So shows on those two days are absolute bargains and you’d be a fool not to get in and see them. So leaving it until now to book has added an element of excitement and risk to proceedings. A lot of the shows we’ve looked at have been booked up on one or both of those days, so a lot of jiggery-pokery has taken place when I’ve been arranging the shows onto a spreadsheet (because that’s what I do, here at nerds-r-us).

I’ve even been caught out mid-booking because the venue couldn’t allocate two tickets. It threw my whole plan into all sorts of disarray and confusion. Luckily it was close to the start of the week and I hadn’t booked an entire week of shows which then needed to be cancelled and rearranged to accommodate a move. But bloody hell, I didn’t like cutting it so fine.

We haven’t actually booked as many as we normally do. But we took the same approach last year and booked quite a few shows on the fly. But then, we also saw some absolutely painful shows last year so there’s that as well.

Carole, though, has invested in a book of hidden gems around Edinburgh, so I’m sure we’ll be all over the place looking at weird things.

And then there’s always the prospect of fitting in as many escape rooms while we’re up there as possible. I’ve already looked up seven so far, and there’s more to find…


I’m not really sure what’s happening to us. Carole is now saying goodnight to Google every time she goes to bed, just to see what it says back to her. It’s a bit Walton’s-esque. She says goodnight to me, and then to her phone. I’m not sure if that means I’m her first thought, or if she’s saving the best until last. But it’s definitely happening. And Google always replies with a hilarious response, whereas I just ask if she can try and not sleep with all her limbs all over the place.

Maybe if Google had to try and get into bed next to her, things would change.

But it’s not just that.

It’s the fact that Carole is deliriously happy with a new dust buster that she – me – has purchased so we can keep the new bookshelves nice and tidy. I said it wouldn’t work as well as she thought and she has basically gone out of her way to prove to me how wrong I could be. I’ll bet she’s even set up something with Google so that she’ll casually ask it how good the dust buster is and it will tell us that I was wrong and she was right, na na na na nah.

And then me, I’m excited because I’ve bought a new sexy looking pan. In fact, not only have I bought that pan but I’ve ordered a set of saucepans to go with it, so we can get rid of our existing saucepans. And I’m ridiculously excited about them arriving as well. Not to mention the fact that I don’t think it would be much of a stretch to replace our existing griddle pan with a new one as well, after all I got our existing griddle pan when I was at university. Which is a LONG time ago. We don’t even griddle that much stuff. But we bloody well could. I could happily char black lines onto everything.

I shouldn’t be this excited about pans.

But I bloody am.

I can’t wait to use them.

I’ve already re-written next week’s menu plan to incorporate things I can make in the new sexy pan. Prior to me buying it we were not having a risotto, and the idea hadn’t even crossed my mind. Now, however, it’s risotto a-go-go.

I remember being really excited about the new egg poacher we got a while back.

And the four-slot toaster, years ago.

We nearly got a KitchenAid the other week, but it was only available in an absolutely foul colour. But I have a feeling that’s not too far off, either.

I know I have an addiction to food porn. You show me a lovely picture of a cake, or a roast or something and I can’t not look.

But I think I have an addiction to kitchen porn. It feels dirtier, somehow.

I like it.


Ok Computer

If there’s one thing that Carole’s not good with it’s technology. She likes the idea of it, loves the idea of it in fact. But the application can leave something to be desired.

She can take the fastest computer on the planet and within a day or so it will be running ridiculously slow, but only for her, and there will be no known explanation. Every computer that has entered this house has gone the same way, its microprocessors slowed down by some inexplicable reaction to Carole’s very presence.

It’s truly a mystery.

She’s just recently got a new phone. She’d had her old one for ages and it was, of course, insanely slow. So she’s got the latest Samsung thing, I think. And, for once, she’s taking to the internet to learn how to use it properly. No longer is this a case of a phone leaving the factory with all its hopes and dreams, only to end up in a situation where it cannot live up to its full potential. This phone is going to shine. Things are going to be amazing.

She’s started with the Google Assistant. Which she is slowly integrating with as many apps on her phone as she possibly can.

What they don’t show you on the adverts for the Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa or any other home robot lady is this:

“Ok Google…. OK GOOGLE!…. GOOOGLE!”

Which is the three levels of desperation as you try to get your home robot lady to listen to you.

It’s not quite the magical world of Star Trek where you can just say “Computer…” and ask it anything. It’s very much the magical world of you think this is quicker, but really you’d be better off just typing in your request. At least then you wouldn’t be alone in your living room shouting at a phone.

She sent two texts to me, using the Google Assistant, while I was sitting next to her. Just because she could. It’s not all going to get old really quickly.

Most frightening, is that she’s integrated the Google Assistant with her To Do List app, which means she can now just add things to the To Do List as she thinks of them, wherever she is. Provided she has enough time, of course, to shout “Google!” until it pays attention.

Carole’s picking a task and then looking on YouTube for a “How To…” video which explains what she wants to do, watching that, then trying to do what it did while forgetting salient points of the video. She’s also doing this using videos recorded by a heavily-accented, and fast talking, Indian man. For some reason.

I bet Google knows the answer, maybe I should ask it…