My salad dressing days


Tile-induced tedium
August 22, 2007, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We go to The Posh Tile Shop (TPTS). We know we won’t be buying tiles from TPTS but we can dream, right? And we’re looking for inspiration, says Mr Chick. Inspiration-hunting? Nothing to be ashamed of.

TPTS is indeed quite posh. And quite expensive. And the chicklets immediately lunge for some slate tiles stacked precariously on the floor, so we don’t stay long. But we buy the brochure (yes, that posh). The shop assistant tosses a paint colour swatch (now free!) into our bag and sends us on our way with a smile that indicates her relief at the prospect of two three-year-olds leaving the premises.

Later in the week, we go to The Cheap-o Tile Store (TCTS). Really there isn’t any need to prefix their company name with ‘discount’ because everyone knows ‘store’ equals cheap and ‘shop’ equals more expensive.

We wander up and down the aisles in bewilderment. There is a lot of sighing. There is some flustered muttering along the lines of ‘how the heck did we ever think we quite fancied building our own house when we can barely choose tiles for a new bathroom’. There are some admissions that the house-building idea was only ever a ploy to try to become friends with Kevin McCloud.

We hang, like flies over dog dirt, around the stone tiles section. We hum and haw and sigh some more. A man starts yelling ‘Are we winning?’ and I imagine he is referring to some local derby that he is missing on account of having to follow arguing couples round TCTS. But no, he is not talking of that game with one ball and eleven men with which most of the planet, except me and Mr Chick, is obsessed. We turn around and he looks us in the face and asks again: ‘Anything take your fancy? Are we winning?’

‘No, we’re arguing.’

‘Oh. Well, can I help at all?’

We tell him our tale of woe. High ceilings. North-facing aspect. Haven’t measured anything yet. Not sure about: colour scheme, tile type, exact location of sanitary ware, existence of God. Et cetera.

He retreats a little.

‘Well, OK…um, give me a yell if you need any help or samples or anything.’

We are not winning.

So we go to Starbucks.

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Concentrating on the important issues of the day
August 14, 2007, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s comforting to know that those hard-working hacks in London are making the most of their weekly press briefing with the PM’s spokesperson:

Asked if the Prime Minister was in his constituency whilst in Scotland, the PMS confirmed that he was working from his constituency office.

Asked if the Prime Minister was now on holiday, the PMS replied that it was the first time that the Prime Minister had visited his constituency since he became Prime Minister. There was therefore a lot of business to do, and traditionally, the Prime Minister had often used his constituency office as an alternative location from where to do Government business from.

Asked if the Prime Minister would have a meeting with Alex Salmond whilst he was in Scotland, the PMS said that she was not aware of any such plans, but added that the he had attended a Raith Rovers football match at the weekend.

Asked if the Prime Minister would be resuming his holiday, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister was up in Scotland for a few days, but that would be dependent on issues on the ground.

Asked had the Prime Minister arrived in Scotland and when was the last time that he was there, the PMS said that he had arrived on Friday, and this was the first visit to his constituency since he had become Prime Minister.

Asked if the Prime Minister was intending to have another holiday, the PMS replied that as people knew, he had had a family holiday in Dorset planned, but it was disrupted.

Asked again if the Prime Minister was intending to take another holiday, the PMS replied that at the moment the Prime Minister was working up in Scotland.

Asked if the Prime Minister thought that it was important for people to take holidays with their families, and did he feel that he should lead by example, the PMS replied that he did think that it was important. He had had a holiday planned, but it was disrupted, and he felt that the most important thing for him was to come back and oversee the Foot and Mouth outbreak.

Put by a journalist that Scotland was not a holiday, and it was not going to become a holiday, the (Scottish) Lobby Chair interrupted him and said that when people went to Scotland, it was always a holiday!

Is it me or do these people need stuff repeating before it sinks in?



Isn’t it annoying
August 5, 2007, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

when people review one-off shows? What use is that to the rest of us?

So. No point telling you how darned fabulous both Craig McMurdo and Humph were at the Jazz and Blues Festival then.

But definitely worth mentioning the weird and wonderful Fuerzabruta. I shan’t attempt a review because it’s almost indescribable, but Michael Billington’s is bang on the money. It’s not well advised for epileptics. Or claustrophobics. Or people of a nervous disposition. (Unless, of course, you have Mr Chick’s right arm to cling onto.)

As of tomorrow, it will set you back a jaw-dropping £25 per ticket for the one hour spectacular. Still, if some folk are willing to fork out £500 to see Barbra Streisand…



The glamour of modern train travel
August 1, 2007, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

…means that a fit of smugness about one’s carbon toeprint results in one overlooking the fact that one is going to have to cross Paris on Bastille Day on the outward part of the journey and on the finale of the Tour de France on the return journey. Not recommended, even if you do have a leisurely two hour window to play with and whatever your desire to familiarise yourself with the backstreets of the French capital.

…means that whilst speed is very much of the essence on TGVs, catering facilities are not and when one has the equivalent of tuppence in Euro coinage, lunch (exotic plans for which were scuppered by national holidays and drug-addled cyclists) for one’s hungry children consists of half a KitKat and three swigs each from a can of Orangina. Also not recommended, as the hyperglycaemic high will only last for half of one’s journey.

…means that one finds oneself sharing one’s second class carriage with a veritable hotpotch of the British comedy scene, namely Mel Giedroyc, Les Dennis and Lucy Porter. Highly recommended, especially if one of said comedians* decides to engage one’s young child in friendly banter and one’s young child responds by calling said comedian ‘fishface’ every three seconds for a 15 minute period, leading to much hilarity.

* the decidedly lovely, not to mention hugely magnanimous Ms Giedroyc