27 February 2011

Dear Sophisticated Ladies

The Clan, of which I am a member, has made a monumental decision this week. The subject is one upon which I mused last week. Yes, brace yourself, sit down, and grab a strong drink ~ my mother has bought a car! She did it all on her own and without the intervention of her children. When I say without intervention I am not forgetting the ‘guidance’ my brother and I have proffered.

And the news gets better: she didn’t buy it from John Lewis – OK that’s cheating as they haven’t extended their product range in the last seven days. Nor is it a VW! I was thrown by her reference to Autoworld when she hadn’t gone to Autoworld but this apparently is a locational reference rather than the name of the retailer!

Yes she has bought a new SEAT Ibiza and my brother managed not to ‘comment’ on the specification i.e. to tell her the engine was under powered. I did say to him that this was neither helpful nor relevant to a driver who hardly ever goes on a motorway! Quite when she is going to take driving tips from my fraternal speed demon heaven only knows. 

And fair play to her, or should I say chwarae teg, the trade in price for their pristine VW Golf is really rather impressive. The Canadian Salesman, James, who I had met when visiting the dealers with her, was surprised himself. By this time we are on first name full disclosure, (him not my mother), terms. His back story would be of interest to me was I twenty years younger ~ he is easy on the eye in a preppy meets rugby player kind of way but as I say I’m not shopping in that establishment at the moment.

 When caught short, in a Baroness Finlay no longer able to run for a bus kind of way, I had to avail myself of facilities in my local Tesco. As I was leaving toilets the slot machine caught my eye; or rather the contents of it did. Now I know I live in Barry where there are still arcades full of slot machines of quite a different kind but I don’t know what else to call such boxes on the wall!

It was the alliteration that made me smile: Tic Tacs, Tampons and Trojans! How fantastic is that and how utterly curious. From recollection I think they were all the same price too. It got me wondering how many times one might need to purchase all three items. Now had the Tic Tacs been of the mint variety then I could see how the triple purchase would have all bases covered. But fruit flavoured Tic Tacs seem an odd choice.

In case you were wondering the Trojans were traditional i.e. plain flavour and I don’t think you got Tesco Club Card points for these items. Given that the rewards are available on the other self service tills inside the store perhaps I might suggest this on the Customer Suggestion cards!

In fact I missed the opportunity to pose the question in person because as I exited the ladies I was faced with four curvaceous uniformed shop assistants walking towards me in a line up reminiscent of Men in Black! Frightening? I nearly had to turn full circle and nip back into the cubicle!

As I mentioned last week health wise I have been, more than usually, under par for a few weeks. The cough persists especially at night, to the extent that when I consulted my (fount of all knowledge) neighbour about how one requested more corn sacks for the food recycling bin she asked how I was.

Living in a terraced house she can hear me hacking away through the bedroom wall. Our bedrooms are adjacent to each other and I can hear her putting away her clothes as the hangers scrape along the wardrobe rail. She said she had commented to her mother one night that she’d thought I was about to expire!

As I reacted badly to the steroids prescribed I found myself back in the West Quay Medical Centre waiting room once more. Well the shock of seeing a lady of traditional Barry build collecting her script nearly finished me off. Now I am possibly a little too picky, when it comes to co-ordinating items to exhibit on the display that is one’s body, but frankly there is no excuse for what I was exposed to.

Bearing in mind it is February which, unless the seasonal order has been changed, still falls into winter. So two tone, faux leather, camel and cream sandals were a daring choice of footwear especially given the rain we have been experiencing. But please do not ever think that wearing said shoes over dark i.e. thick black, tights is ever an appropriate combination!

My gorgeous godson visited me this weekend and had grown so tall in the three/four weeks since I last saw him. Aside from having been subjected to a rather bad haircut, that did nothing to help tame his red sandy hair, he was noticeable more grown up. His speech has come on leaps and bounds ~ yes we have graduated to the ‘why’ module.

Those of you who have, or have had, small children will be familiar with this phase. The answer to everything is ‘why’ followed by ‘why’ followed by ‘why’! His Mamgi is understandably going slowly insane. We laughed, as we made up ridiculous answers, when he persisted with ‘why’ when the thread of discussion had obviously reached its natural conclusion. 

And then when asked why something had happened Godson responds that the Monster told him. Well according to Wikipedia the definition of a monster is as follows:

A monster is any fictional creature, usually found in legends or horror fiction, that is somewhat hideous and may produce physical harm or mental fear ither its appearance or its actions. The word “monster” derives from Latin monstrum, an aberrant occurrence, usually biological, that was taken as a sign that something was wrong within the natural order.[1]

The word connotes something wrong or evil; a monster is generally morally objectionable, physically or psychologically hideous, and/or a freak of nature. It can also be applied figuratively to a person with similar characteristics.

Now that certainly is true but frankly why would such an august being bother him or herself with tearing the flaps out of ‘Spot’s Birthday Party’? I gave him a firm cuddle when he flinched saying the monsters were frightening him. He had been leaping around and knocked something over. I told him that monsters only live in bad people’s houses so there were no monsters in my house on account of me being a nice person! 

In celebration of a close friend’s birthday we went for lunch at Jamie’s.  Her son had wanted to experience the restaurant he had heard about and he was sadly disappointed. I have been before and am of the opinion that it’s a (posh) chain with a formulaic faux shabby warehouse chic feeling. It’s OK but not much more really. I did however experience something new.

 Now angel hair to me conjures up golden tresses flowing with an enviable lustre that plays with light and twinkles. Perhaps I am confusing mermaids but either way gun metal or indigo black is not a colour I associate with this celestial being.

So when one of our party order scallops with squid ink angel hair I was not expecting vermicelli style pasta of this colour. Curiously intrigued I accepted the offer of a forkful. And yes it tasted of nothing in particular other than well pasta! Foxed by being thus let down I pondered on squid ink; I’ve seen the pictures of squid squirting clouds of purpley black stuff but how much do you get out of one squid?

How many squid were ‘milked’ to make this pile of pasta black? And do you have to kill it or just give it time to recover before squeezing it again? Does Jamie perform this procedure himself or does he have people to do it for him? And given how long it takes me to get the ink off my fingers when I refill my fountain pen does squid ink stain? If it does can the omnipresent Vanish get rid of the traces as it could be an embarrassing one to explain…

That coupled with the potatoes that my friend couldn’t get her fork into on account of them being rather under cooked I was once again left a little underwhelmed. After complaining we got her meal free which was little comfort when her birthday lunch had been spoiled.

On that note I can hear the two pineapples, three grapefruit and six mangoes plus a pile of red grapes, calling to me from the kitchen. A surgical procedure needs to be performed to ensure I have a Tupperware box of taste bud tingling healthiness for post swimming breakfast tomorrow. And I will need all my energy to complete my Salon preparations – you have until noon tomorrow to contact me in case you find a window in your diary tomorrow (28 February).

For those of you joining me in ffresh at 6.30 pm tomorrow I have a treat for each one of you to mark World Book Day on 5 March. And if you are available on 8 March (International Womens Day) my Salon Host Fiona Allan would like to invite you to an exhibition. I will forward on details to you for what looks like an interesting display of female creative prowess.

In sophistication as always

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