Another Oven Licence

Wordpretzels, those of you who are fanatical Rural Spaceman followers (both of you, if the medication hasn’t worked)will know that 6 years ago, I told the tale of getting my oven licence.

My concluding line was that I should get the hang of it after 9 or 10 years. No such luck. That was 2012 and since then, one of the ovens caused us lots of trouble, mainly with a faulty door. After several call outs, involving a man who found it extremely inconvenient that, as an emergency call out engineer, we called him out for several emergencies, with a point blank refusal to change the whole oven. Until the 9th or 10th call out, when he came in, stared at the still faulty oven door and marched out to his van again. After several minutes, when Lady Barton St Mary and I worried that he would return with a silenced semi automatic pistol and slot us both in the head, he appeared to tell us they’d ‘replace the bloody thing’. Hoorah.

Until a month ago, when I discovered our ‘new’ (5 year old) oven had melted its knobs and virtually given up the ghost. I must admit, if my knob melted I’d probably give up the ghost too, but at my age that may take a little longer to discover.

Anyway, this was the start of a new quest for Lady BSM to find a new oven. Ominous reminders of various ‘quests’ loomed up in my mind – the ‘K’ word, (not for the faint hearted – the kitchen planner is on the road to recovery and is due to be discharged next year), light fittings, curtains, blinds, paint colours, all carefully researched to the nth degree.

And so it started. Early one Saturday morning, in the darkness, I turned over in bed to witness Lady BSM’s lovely face illuminated by the glow of a mobile phone screen.

‘Do we need a rotisserie option?’ she asked.

I try to stay clear of Lady BSM’s research phase and wait for the preliminary reduced choice list. She looks at me imploringly with her beautiful blue eyes.

‘Which oven should I choose? I can’t decide between Neff or Miele,’ she said. I considered. The best tactic here is to just choose one and gauge the reaction.

‘Oh, Neff, I think,’ I replied.

She gave me a look like I’d pulled down my pants and nail varnished my willy.

‘Neff? Really?’

Success. We were narrowing it down. Time for her to visit the kitchen appliance shop, sans me of course. This continued for a couple of weeks, until one Saturday she set off for the shop with the intention of making a final decision. At 4pm, I received a phone call after refereeing a football game.

‘Hello, please come to the shop! I can’t make up my mind!’

By 4.30pm, I was in the shop staring at shiny metal boxes with various knobs and whistles, a dazzling array of electronic wizardry. After lots of deliberation, opening and closing of oven doors and knob twiddling, the Miele won. We made our way to the sales counter to meet Jacqui, the lady who’d been assisting Lady BSM on her earlier visits. Jacqui and Lady BSM were well acquainted by now, they were like old friends, although Jacqui appeared to be a little apprehensive as Lady BSM approached.

‘We’ve decided. We’ll take the Miele,’announced Lady BSM.

Jacqui clutched her chest, drawing her work tunic into her balled fist.

‘Thank goodness for that,’ she whispered.

Our ovens are now safely installed, thanks to Pete the friendly electrician. They are very well made and extremely heavy, according to Pete the friendly herniated electrician.

Which means my oven licence training will start again soon. These ovens are paralytic like the last ones, but this time they can steam stuff, which I’m sure will require an ology.

However, so far, they seem to be able to tell me what to do in simple steps, don’t make too many shrill noises and produce beautifully cooked food. A bit like Lady BSM, really.


Posted in freshly pressed, humor, humour, kitchen, life observations, ovens, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Compensation Dilemma 2

Me: Hello?

Caller: (with distinct Indian accent): Hello how are you today?

Me: I’m fine, how are you holding up?

Caller: Pardon? I’m calling from BT internet – there is a problem with your connection and we need to fix it.

Me: I see. What’s the name of your company?

Caller:  BT Internet Services

Me: BT Internet Services? Where are you based?

Caller:(pause as he reaches for UK address to read out): 81 Newgate Street, London EC …

Me: You’re in London?

Caller: Yes. Anyway, if I could be allowed access to your computer…

Me: What’s the weather like there?

Caller: Pardon? Err, well, it’s err, raining… So, if you could…

Me: What’s the nearest tube station?

Caller: What?! You want to come here? You want to come here?

Me: So, what route do you take to work?

Caller: (agitated): Why?! What!!! You want to come here?  You want to come here and suck my dick??!!

Me: Gosh, even Sky don’t offer that.

Caller hangs up on me.


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Compensation Dilemma

Mobile phone rings. I answer.

Me: Hello

Person: Hello, how are you today?

Me: I’m fine. How are you?

Person: Oh. Erm… I’m fine. I’m calling from **** services regarding your recent car accident. Have you had a car accident recently?

Me: Yes.

Person (delighted): Oh! Ok! Could you give me some details?

Me: Of course. I was travelling southbound on the M5 when my vehicle was involved in a massive pile up, resulting in my death.

Person: I see. Did you claim any compensation for this accident? What damage occurred to you or your car?

Me: I don’t really know. It was a fatal car accident.

Person: So you didn’t claim? If I can take more details, perhaps you could receive substantial compensation.

Me: That would be great, but unfortunately I’m dead, so nobody would take me seriously.

Person: Oh, I see. Pardon? Hello? (continuous tone as he hangs up)…

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Record Store Rant

Tomorrow is record store day, apparently. Firstly, we don’t have record stores, we have record shops, a clue that it’s the invention of the corporate music industry and hence a way of getting mugs to part with lots of money. How? By ‘releasing’ lots of limited edition plastic discs for people to plonk on eBay and upset genuine record collectors.
Secondly, vinyl is the best way to listen to music, if 1) you have a sophisticated hi-fi system that cost over £4000, 2) You are listening to music recorded before 1982.
If you have neither of these, just download your music, it saves space, means you listen to what you want to listen to without hassle and doesn’t bugger up the planet.
Take your average old person, who may own up to 400+ vinyl LPs. They probably don’t listen 90% of them, because the music, however nostalgic, is old and shit. So do yourself a favour. Download your LPs onto a drive, flog them to some idiot collector and spend the money on a nice meal or holiday.
You see, at one time, I had over 300 long playing records. A record of my life from teenage years right through to the age of CDs. Then one day, looking in the little box room we had that needed clearing out, I thought: ‘These have been there for ages. I’ve not listened to any of them for at least 5 years.” So I gave them away. A year earlier, I’d thrown away all my cassette tapes.
It seems amazing, I thought by now I’d be mortified, but … I don’t care. Music is fluid. Now we have the internet and instant streaming, I have no need for a little disc that I have to flip through, missing all the crap tracks to get to the ones I love. What’s more, I’m not leaving any debris for my children to throw in the skip when I pass on.
I still have a chest of drawers full of CDs. Plus a couple of boxes. All kept in a cupboard. Today, I realised, I no longer have a CD player in the house. It’s nearly time to jettison them.
But, you may ask, what happens to my vast collection of music when I die, all that virtual stuff on iTunes and Spotify Premium? Do I just lose it?
Yes.Probably. But does it matter? Do my children want to inherit it?
My dad loved his music. He had hundreds of LPs. Frank Sinatra, James Last, The Mills Brothers, Mrs Mills…
Did I want to inherit all of these and listen to them on my headphones?
Your honour, I rest my case.
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Intruder Alert

As I was leaving the house for my Sunday run (yes, smug, aren’t I), I noticed two large, wet footprints in the porch of Randall Towers. I stopped and considered them for a moment. Somebody had recently visited our door, but hadn’t left anything. It was Sunday, so no postal deliveries. So why had they been standing at the main entrance to our house?

Earlier, I had awoken from a dream, where I had been walking along a city street, when, out of a side road, hundreds of people emerged, running up the hill I had apparently been walking down. I stopped and watched them hurriedly making their way up the incline. Why were they in such a hurry? More to the point, were they running towards or away from something? I decided that it may be best to retrace my steps, turning and jogging leisurely after the crowd. That’s when I noticed the rather well built unshaven man with wild eyes along side me. He was dressed in a check shirt and moleskin trousers, pulled almost to his chest and fastened by a wide, black belt. But the thing I noticed most was the large meat cleaver in his right hand, glinting in the streetlights, dripping with blood.

He stared into my eyes, keeping pace with me, as he raised the cleaver above his head and aimed it in my direction…

That was when I’d woken up. So, was this dream a portent? Was somebody watching the house, waiting for the right time to pounce? Worse still, had somebody retreated from the front entrance and found another way into the house?

Perhaps they were waiting for me in another room, hidden in the shades, check shirt rolled to the elbow to reveal hairy arms, thick, strong fingers wrapped around the handle of a large meat cleaver.

My reverie was interrupted by Miss Katherine, standing in the hallway behind me.

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

I tried my best not to be too dramatic.

“Somebody has been to our front door early this morning, but not to drop anything off,” I explained.

“Why do you think that?”

I pointed out the two size nine footprints on the flagstones outside the door. She stared at them for a moment. Perhaps I’d spooked her, too.

“That would be the footprints you made when clearing up the cat sick this morning,” she explained, before making her way to the coffee machine.

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Luge Yourself

Word pretzels, it’s been a while. I thought the muse had left me forever, but somehow the winter Olympics has inspired me.

I didn’t think it would. I started watching some of the snowboarding on TV – the sort of event usually confined to Eurosport, which is only watched by Brits sitting in the Irish bars of Torremolinos as they drink steiners of local lager. Sport’s answer to magnolia paint.

As far as I can tell, snowboarding is a a ‘sport’ that came about because of those video games from a few years ago and inevitably evolves its own language. Commentators shouting things like, “That’s a great 540 with a hand grip leading into a narly fripanstoper, rad tactic, Alan”. I suddenly knew what it felt like to a complete sportsphobe listening to any sports commentary that inevitably alienates the non enthusiast. Anyway, it was quite interesting and obviously quite physically amazing, but my baser instincts prefer watching people kick or carry a bag of leather around a regulation size area of grass or artificial equivalent towards a pre determined goal. Horses for courses, I suppose.

But then I came across something called  luge. I’d seen luge or skeleton racing, where persons propelled themselves down icy alleyways as fast as possible. When I say fast, I mean in excess of 80 mph. Now, in a car, you would have to keep your wits about you when driving at that speed. These individuals are travelling without a car, without an airbag. Or seatbelts. Over 80 mph. Head first.

So, naturally, you like to watch, partly in disbelief, but mostly wondering what would happen if they crashed head first into the wall of the track? What would be the last thing to go through their minds? Their arses, I would assume.

So, that was exciting, but the event that really made me sit up was – the double luge. Suddenly, I saw olympic athletes, that, with the exception of the gin soaks involved in equestrianism, had body shapes like mine. Or, at least, one of them in each team does.

Let me explain double luge to you. It involves an olympian shaped person (i.e. somebody who looks OK in lycra) and a normal shaped person (i.e. somebody who looks like me in lycra when I’m in shape and been dieting like fury for 3 months). Let’s call the second person ‘the fat bloke’ (I haven’t seen any female double luge teams. This may be because they don’t do it, it’s not televised or regarded as far too titillating).

What happens is, they run like the clappers down an extreme version of those playground ice slides we were allowed to make at school in the 60s and 70s, to get up a head of steam, then the fat bloke lies on top of the the smaller bloke. You’d assume it would be the other way around, since the bulkier one could probably take the weight, but no. Maybe that’s because the fat bloke would have more surface contact with the ice and slow them down. Also, the smaller bloke could roll off the fat bloke’s belly. Anyway, that’s what happens. This isn’t done face first, but feet first, known as ‘supine’. In case you’re wondering, they are also both face up. Any other combination could be considered slightly creepy if not perverted. Just in case you’re asking ‘if the fat bloke’s on the little bloke, what’s he on?”, let me explain. Besides valium, (I would be), he’s supine on a small tea tray with handles on the side.

Oh what joy this event gave me. Seeing somebody in lycra who, like me, tries to avoid mirrors like a traditional vampire, competing in an Olympic event.

My favourites were the Šics brothers from Latvia, Andris and Juris. Yes, they’re extremely talented and have

Big Shit, my hero, sitting on his brother Little Shit, prior to sliding down a chute at 87 mph trying to see over his belly…

won lots of awards, but the best thing about them was the ‘big’ brother’s laissez faire approach to tight fitting sports attire and that their name is pronounced ‘shits’. Therefore, listening to a commentator describe the Shits coming down the run extremely fast or how difficult it could be to catch the Shits, appealed to my puerile sense of humour. To compound this, there was a little Shit and a big Shit.

So, thank you, winter Olympics, for the double luge. You’ve given a man with a middle aged shape hope. However, I have no idea if the Shits won or not. Maybe, just maybe, if you’ve been sitting in a bar drinking lager and watching Eurosport in a Torremolinos bar during the last week, you can let me know.

Posted in  Šics brothers, blogging, humor, humour, life observations, luge, winter Olympics, wordpress | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Christmas Past, Christmas Present – Mustard Coloured Track Suit and a Leopard Skin Kimono

It was Christmas. I couldn’t blog earlier, I was too busy doing nothing, so here’s a rehashed Christmas blog from 2012.


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