13 February 2011

Darling Sophisticated Ladies

Happy Valentine’s Day


Just thought I’d offer you all a little valentine’s message from sophisticated cupid herself! Because you are all worth it and probably won’t all get the affectionate acknowledgement you deserve (or indeed desire). I seldom mark the 14 February other than to send a card to a friend whose birthday falls on this day. The whole concept has become so commercialized in a way that is designed to subtly prick our conscience; thou shall feel guilty!

 I write this from my family home in Derbyshire where I am performing dutiful daughter duties. Well actually by virtue of my typing away watching my mother washing up that is not exactly accurate. We have just averted a minor crisis involving a dish of stuffing and a joint of pork. The shelves in the oven were, in fact still are, in the wrong place the consequence of which was that the sausage meat ensemble did not fit in!

As I am sure you will all be aware, and in fact probably a number of you have scars to prove, that moving hot oven shelves is a dangerous occupation. We did not plan our preparations for the roast dinner ~ quelle domage how lacking in Mrs Beatonesque skills we are! A compromise solution has been found and nobody will be any the wiser. Perhaps we will remember to plan the positioning of the oven shelves, in advance, next time but somehow I doubt it!

 Earlier this week I was sitting in a well-known chain of coffee shops writing and I witnessed a truly bizarre display of disappointment. I was quietly eating a late lunch at a table rather more prominent than I would have liked as it was close to a plug socket and my battery was rather low. A middle-aged man walked in with a guitar in a case strapped to his back. His ensemble was eclectic; or rather it would have been if worn by someone who had an ounce of style. The battered oversized tartan cap, with badges pinned to it, said it all!

Excuse me whilst I pause to hold the oven dish containing the pork joint and the potatoes as the latter need to be agitated; turned over in the oil; and hopefully (we are too late) prevent them sticking to the bottom! This is a two person job and the oil is smoking, spitting and behaving aggressively ~ so much for organic pigs being happy beasts!

Back to the strange incident in the coffee shop – the man’s gait was slouched and his jowls unshaven; the unkempt appearance could have been a disguise given what he say to me next. Stopping abruptly he looked at me and said ‘are you a drama student?’  To which I answer no of course because I am not nor never have been a drama student. His face froze as he turned away and walked to the counter. I busied myself avoiding eye contact as I sensed his need for conversation!

 My apologies once again I had to pop out and empty the dustbin. The black bag needs to be placed at the top of the drive this evening in readiness for the Council collection van in the morning; it is 4.30 pm but one likes to be prepared.

Once again we return to the oddly interested gentleman in the Roath café. He sat at a table rather closer to me than I would have liked. It took him a while to arrange himself and his bags; this he did noisily scrapping the wooden chair on the stone tiled floor. His back was towards me for the four minutes before he got up and walked (Santa shopping bag in hand) passed me towards to toilet. He leaves his guitar in its black nylon case, supervising his steaming coffee, next to the table.     

He was gone for ages; long enough for me to wonder if the black bag contains a bomb. All this talk of terrorism has heightened my awareness of suspicious parcels. Weird man returned with a book in his hand. He gave me a sideways glance as he walked passed. This time he sat with his back to the wall allowing him to look at me whilst reading; this was not good for business as I felt uncomfortable.

A further and final interruption for the sole purpose of consuming the pork roast dinner with accompanying red cabbage with apple, ratatouille (prepared by my father in just the way I like i.e. nice and chunky allowing one to taste the aubergine!) I had been charged with scoring the skin on the joint to ensure the crackling was just right – instructions from Delia of course!

The only slight query I have is over the spinach which I prefer to wilt gently rather than drown to within a millimeter of the baby leaves lives! My attempt to drain the greens, as they have now become, is somewhat lacking as I can’t bring myself to give them a good squeeze which is frankly what was required!

Prior to journeying north I met with the friend who is doing my website and we purchased the domain name. I was pleased to be able to buy my own name; obviously I am not that common after all!  I paid with my business account card and at that point someone scammed my card as I got a phone call from the bank about unusual transactions. Funnily enough I am not wont to buy games on-line ~ curiously 4 of the 6 transactions were less than £2. So ladies please be careful and keep eye on your financial movements!

This morning I took my mother car shopping; we are still in mourning as John Lewis have failed to break out in this retail line. I do wonder if the establishment was to extend into this area whether a deal would be signed with Volkswagen as of course we are seeking a replacement Golf. I drive a SEAT myself so mother has been considering a Leon or Ibiza so we did attempt to torture or do I mean interrogate the salesmen of this particular franchise!

Details tangled our deliberations over cars as mother was fixated on the colour of the vehicles; those of you who know her will be familiar with her forceful delivery when displeased! Eventually I did manage to persuade her that she needed to test drive a car before deciding whether or not it might be suitable. So we started by sitting in those in the showroom – hey this was progress ladies! Sadly it rather backfired as she transferred her fixation onto the steering wheel – and the seats!

Finally I must finish with an anecdote we can all relate to; yes the weak bladdered dog. My friend’s eight year old dog is lovely, solid but still of a size that I can pick up and cuddle. OK I can barely breathe whilst in the embrace but it is possible. Ah I hear you sigh and well you might when she looks at you with her head cutely cocked on one side.

The problem is that when she gets excited she suffers from stress incontinence; yes the cute dog wees on you! On seeing this coming my friend reaches for the mop without drawing breath ~ I suspect this has happened before!

 I can hear the Lark Rise to Candleford music leaking under the lounge door and whilst this should be my queue to join them I feel the need for a cigarette and the last chapter of F Scott Fitzgerald. I do regret that this slim volume of his writing was free with the Telegraph but it conveniently fits on the garage windowsill next to the empty Robinson’s jam jar that doubles as a receptacle for the ash!

I sign off, as always, in sophistication.  And do peruse the accompanying blog at

https://victoriousendeavours.wordpress.com/  where I do post the weekly missives along with others miscellaneous mid-week musings.

Here is a rose grown by my own fair hands just incase no-one else brought flowers


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Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster

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