18 September 2011

A Brooch by Ellemental (Cardiff Jeweller/Maker)

A Brooch by Cardiff Maker Ellemental

Dear Sophisticated Ladies

Curiously as this week’s news has been full of controversy about the sell by, best before and use by dates I find I have purchased some ‘posh’ bacon already 2 weeks after its sell by date. This of course I discover when unpacking the shopping rather than at the checkout when a helpful assistant could have rushed to rectify the situation. For two days I leave it on top of the butchers block work surface on the basis that there was little point in refrigerating something I would return. On day three I put it in the fridge. Day five I decide to use it as by then I have returned twice to the particular supermarket without the item! Logic there is none! Day six the ‘cooked until crispy’ pancetta has been consumed with no ill effects.

 Presumably the setting off of the smoke alarm was an indicator that I had adequately cremated any nasty bacteria languishing on said meat product. I don’t recommend this approach to cooking but if I have the cook hood on at a sufficient setting to remove the fumes I can’t hear the radio. Why this should bother me when half (or more) of the time it is background ambient noise I don’t know? Habit I suppose. To use business speak ‘it’s the way we do things ‘round here’. And this evening when exploring the contents of the fridge I notice that the old smoked bacon lardons – with a sell by date of 27 September – resemble balloons. What is this telling me I wonder? Bacteria eager for a chat perhaps? Time to set off the smoke alarm me thinks!

 On the same tack I find what I consider to be a bargain in the reduced section of my preferred supermarket – Morrisons. Three boxes of 24 miniature Green and Blacks chocolate bars reduced from £6.99 (frankly outrageous given that they are now owned by Nestle) to 0.99p (an acceptable price suitably reduced given that they are now owned by Nestle). I realise, too late, that I am supposed to be boycotting Green and Blacks since they were acquired by Nestle! Convenient really given that ‘friend with benefits’ is partial to this particular brand of chocolate. See the compromises I am prepared to make for my (occasional) not so guilty pleasures – when did my morals become quite so fluid I wonder?

 The change of seasons continues to challenge me this week. The solution to the regular opening, (and emptying), of the heavens in autumn is the leather jacket (of which I have three). On Monday I was at a client meeting in Bristol in the Quayside area where the wind was practically hurricane strength – on more than one occasion I thought I’d have to burst into song as I was almost lifted Mary Poppins like off my feet!

 My colleague, with whom I had travelled, and I had discussed the folly of styling ones hair on a windy day. She has magnificent long lustrous blonde hair that can be stylishly swept up into a chignon or twisted into a racy pony tail. Either option seems wind proof as the windswept look adds a certain je ne sais quoi perfect for this time of year. I, however, have naturally sponge like curly hair that soaks up spare moisture from the surrounding air especially when given a boost of encouragement by a gust of wind. I arrive looking like a lost Labrador fresh from a country walk; she looks healthy and only slightly windblown! Where I ask is the justice in that? Of course the one who fared best was the colleague with a short neatly cropped hairstyle. Usually found arriving on a bicycle this colleague has sensibly chosen shank’s pony for fear of being buffeted into oncoming traffic. Exercise can be dangerous ladies so please be careful – and don’t get me started on helmet hair! Another Salon regular and cyclist is most dismissive of helmets and the relative benefits; I know I made the mistake of asking why once. Darling you do make me laugh and as long as you keep safe I’m happy!

 Driving into Cardiff Bay early one morning I find myself crawling through Dinas Powys idly watching the woman in the car behind me. Bemused by her behaviour it takes me a few minutes before I realise she is not using a hands free kit, no she is singing to a child in the back seat! The repetitious head movement and glances into the mirror are sure signs of a nursery rhyme! Coupled periodically with texting on her mobile phone when the child is apparently calm; this does not last long as she is soon singing and texting together!

 OK perhaps I have lost my calling as a private detective with my expertise in observing the human condition; or perhaps I am a frustrated curtain twitcher! These tendencies must be resisted but they are such fun sometimes. Now Miss Marple was a spinster and an avid observer often seen with secateurs in the garden watching the world go by. Thank you Agatha I feel normal all of a sudden!

 Even on a bad day it only takes me 5-8 minutes to empty the dishwasher so it’s not a domestic task I need help with. In my familial home the dishwasher is my father’s domain and so respectful of the task he won’t ever presume to pack my appliance; ever. So the addition of this task to my cleaner’s Friday routine was not one I had requested; it’s just happened. Annoyingly as on two occasions I have had to try to work out the logic she applied when putting things in the cupboards. How can two people’s brains work so differently I wonder when seeking out the plastic measuring jug? OK it was in the cupboard with other Tupperware items; nowhere near the other jugs. I came home one day when she had tidied the cupboard with plastic boxes in it to find all the lids separated from their partner bodies. Ridiculous solution in my opinion! The next week I happened to be home when she arrived and was putting away a plastic box. On seeing the higgledy piggledy arrangement she cried ‘what have you done to my cupboard?’ Excuse me lady ‘your cupboard?’ Cheeky milk producing animal! By the time I had located all the misplaced items I could have packed and unpacked the dishwasher six times over! Did I say anything? Did I mention the weekly irritation at reaching for the hairdryer on a Saturday morning to find the flex is hanging neatly from the ironing board nowhere near the socket? Of course not, instead I regale my neighbour, who shares the same cleaner, with the tale!

 This weekend has been taken up with working on a project, I am doing with a colleague, reaches its deadline; well the imperative actually relates to said colleague going on holiday on Tuesday. So we need to agree the text of the report before she flies off for a week on a beach leaving me to finalise the document. This always feels like a huge responsibility especially when her parting shot yesterday was ‘you’ll be fine you’ve got good taste’ when I asked about the design we wanted! By now you will have realised my technical competence is not exactly that of an expert so I have found someone to do the final layout and design. But we do need to brief the designer and this we will do over coffee at Starbucks before my colleague rushes off to put swimwear into her suitcase. When she arrived we got onto the subject of body hair and its removal. I confess to having my legs waxed before exposing them on a beach but would never go as far as a friend who told me she plucked her bikini line! A step way too far – makes me want to cross my legs and wince!

 After a day of report writing I returned the phone call my Aunt had made whilst we were working. The phone had rung several times and I had ignored it knowing it would be Auntie or mum who I had spoken to earlier in the day. I am so glad I had not interrupted our creative flow as Auntie wanted assistance with finding a cardigan on the M&S website; for this read a crisis in Nottinghamshire! The challenge was to find a cardigan she hadn’t seen but had been told about by an assistant in a dress shop (doesn’t that term take you back). Auntie had purchased a ‘top’ in brown and navy which she emphasised was nicer than it sounds! The ‘top’ is Bianca and came with a matching ‘cardigan – jacket’ affair which Auntie didn’t fancy. Shop assistant said she had felt the same and had instead bought a navy one from Marksees (why she refers to M&S like this I have no idea). Hence the fruitless search!

 After trying to assist my female relatives with the internet (on the telephone) I always feel the need of a strong drink; a challenge for a non drinker I can tell you! But I comforted myself with the promise of watching the House of Elliot on catch up TV – I have fond memories of watching the lovely Louise whose last name escapes me, in the series when it was shown on a Sunday evening at least 20 years ago. The actress turned up recently in one of the CSI’s and was just as lovely! Of course I couldn’t find the series anywhere so resorted to some other random crime drama to accompany the food I had cooked and didn’t feel like eating! I don’t recommend eating over ‘The Body Farm’.

 Now you will remember my recent foray into kitten ownership and how it ended; badly for me and positively for kitten (I hope). At the same time I had begun my feline traumas another friend got a ginger kitten. I had always wanted a ginger cat and was a tad jealous. This week she told me the kitten had been run over and unfortunately had to be put down as the injuries were so extensive. The awful thing was that she had taken the kitten to the vet and the cost of the treatment was estimated at around £1500 and this was not guaranteed to resolve things. Not having access to this amount of money my friend reluctantly agreed to euthanasia – the most horrific decision I have had to make myself. When looking through the papers that came with the kitten my friend found that when she had the micro chipping done it came with 4 weeks free insurance. She had not been aware of this so she phoned the insurance company up to check. Imagine how she felt when she was told that the vet’s were aware of the insurance and should have told her. The insurance would have paid for the treatment giving the tiny injured animal a chance of life. Understandably my friend is complaining but it’s too late for the kitten.

 And finally the Salon next week has not received enough bookings for the ffresh restaurant to open its doors for us. So I considered my options: cancel and postpone or find another solution. I mulled this over and have decided to take the Salon elsewhere; if the alternative works I may move it permanently. Those of you who have booked will receive confirmation of the new venue once I have secured the deal. It is certainly sophisticated and still in Cardiff Bay with convenient parking nearby!

 In sophisticated exhaustion and still got work to do before Spooks! I do not have a Downton Abbey clash dilemma – that’s what modern technology facilitates – never having to miss out on ones favourite show; fortunately my life is not governed by the commissioning decisions of TV executives!

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1 Comment

Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster, Sophisticated Salons

One response to “18 September 2011

  1. Hi Fran
    This may be a duplicate signiNg up, but have done it
    j X

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