During lockdown many of us have taken up new hobbies, many of us have refined existing ones and some of us have just tried to get through it without murdering everyone in close proximity due to extreme cabin fever.
In our house the conservatory has become the kids ‘art & craft studio’, by which I mean its the easiest room to hose down when all the paint and play dough is finished with. Its also where the kids love of doodling and colouring has been honed throughout lockdown. Last week I decided to clear up the massive pile (about 2 reams of papers worth) of doodles, drawings and scribbles that have amassed in the box that has pens and stuff in. It was long overdue.
Most of it went in the bin, I saved the choice articles, the pictures which showed real flare and effort, but in going through the pile I rediscovered some gems from not only the kids but me and Sarah too. This week I present to you… Dr. Lips.
I have a vague memory of drawing Dr. Lips, but I have no idea of his backstory. I also have no idea why he’s hanging out with Mr Strong and one of the Chuckle Brothers.
Do you know Dr. Lips? Perhaps you met him in an Aldi carpark once? Maybe he checked you over that time you though you had herpes? Let us know in the comments.
A Breath of Fresh Beans returns for season 4: The Skype Year(s).
In this glorious return the three of us discuss:
- Secret blankets
- Blanket mockery
- Schrodinger’s Picture
- Bed porn
It is unfortunate but true that, for about two years between the ages of 21 and 23, I was an absolutely insufferable tool who would send snotty, condescending letters of complaint at the slightest provocation. This fact was recently brought to light when I raided my correspondence folder for material for a Virtual Winston Pub Quiz and found that almost everything in there was a shameful tirade to one company or another dating from the years 2005 to 2007.
Due to popular demand, I will now open up this archive of horrendous antisocial behaviour to the public for your enjoyment.
Pack your bag, grab a coat and head off with me to a mystical place, a place where only the brave may date to enter and only the fiercest survive. If you have the courage then perhaps you will make it to the very peak of n’cle.
In all honesty, I’ve never been to n’cle. It’s clearly listed on a lot of signs around here but whenever I head in the general direction it disappears. It is as though n’cle is more of a concept than anything else, it’s a state of mind. You don’t go to n’cle because you’re either there or you’re not. You can’t get there if you’re already there. Yeah, something deep and meaningful like that.
I have dreamt of hiring a helicopter and flying closely over the terrain in the hope of finding a physical, tangible thing. Perhaps n’cle is so small that only the locals know where it is. Perhaps it’s a stump in the middle of a dell, or a well, or a part of Hadrian’s Wall with a bad smell.
These are all theories though and none of which get me closer to n’cle. I will forever be chasing it, desperate to taste it, smell its goods and embed myself within its warm embrace. Embed? Definitely embed.
Gather round children for I have a story to tell you.
The ratio of men to women is currently around 1:10 in my office. We used to have two gents toilets but it was decided to turn the smaller one into a ladies, for obvious reasons. The remaining gents toilet is umm quaint but not perfect: the light takes around 10 seconds to turn on (not ideal when you’re busting for a whizz wazz wongle), the hot water tap doesn’t work so they had to get an extra one with a heated unit and the dryer is so poor that it’d be quicker to blow on your hands yourself.
Due to the hand dryer being as effective as a car made of wet cheese, I started putting paper towels in the gents so that we had options. There was a small bundle stacked on top of the dryer and a spare lot in the (broken) cupboard above the urinal. I had started doing this before the Bovona virus took hold and every so often the same thing would happen; the paper towels would vanish completely. There one day and gone the next. I thought it was the cleaners moving them or something else. Baffled but thoroughly British, I said nothing and merely replaced the towels. This happened at least half a dozen times over a period of about twelve months.
When I came back from furlough, mainly working from the office, I did the same for what few men remained in the building. To my astonishment the same thing kept happening; a few weeks would pass and the half-used stack of paper towels would be gone with no explanation. I finally decided to do something about this so I mentioned it to the office manager, who was just as puzzled as I was. There was absolutely no reason for anyone to remove the towels. She said that she would mention it to the cleaners and get back to me.
The next day I entered the gents to put my contact lenses and smiled as there was a newly opened pack of paper towels waiting to dry my moistened paws. After putting the lenses in I walked over to the office manager’s office and thanked her for sorting it out. She looked confused, “sorted what out?” I mentioned the towels. “I haven’t spoken to the cleaners about it yet though.”
I asked if she was winding me up, an elaborate prank which I had completely fallen for. Given how grim the world is right now anything light-hearted is very welcome, even at my expense. She swore that she knew nothing about it. There was nobody else in the room when I asked her about it the day before. The towels re-appeared out of nowhere.
There is talk of a ghost who haunts the office at night. Colleagues working late have mentioned hearing noises and bumps after dark. The building is over a hundred years old so it has gone the rounds, so to speak. Do I think that a ghost is playing a trick on me? Do I think that this spectre is yanking my chain by throwing away paper towels?
I don’t have a foggy froggy fog fog fogey Phileas Fogg the foggiest idea.
Before I was about 22, I never wore slippers at all. Our house was a socks house. You took your shoes off and then you just went around in your socks until it was time to put your shoes back on and go outside somewhere. Just one pair of socks, though, not two at once. We weren’t savages.
But my student house was cold, and my housemates all wore slippers, and eventually the peer pressure got to me. On a trip to Next at the Trafford Centre I gave in and bought myself some suede slippers with a very jaunty orange liner. They were amazing, and I was an immediate convert. Now I’m a slipper person.
Since then I’ve spent many years working my way through successive pairs of black suede-effect slippers from Debenhams, but they don’t make them any more, and Debenhams is on its way to the wheely bin of corporate catastrophe, so they aren’t coming back. So now I don’t just need new slippers, I need to choose a whole new slipper type. Nightmare.
I spent several weeks not doing anything about it, because whenever I looked I wouldn’t find anything I liked. But my hand has been forced by the very cold floors in the new house and I made an emergency purchase of some fairly cheap ones that have stripes on the inside, just to keep my feet warm.
You can probably guess the punchline. My stripey slipper snobbery was ill-founded. The new slippers are warm, snug and everything I require. There’s no looking back now. It’s these bad boys all the way.
Please do share your own slipper stories here, unless they’re about wearing two pairs of socks at once. Nobody wants that.
It would be quite fair to comment that I have done a bit of everything in my time on earth. Everything from washing machine repair man to fashion guru, I’ve been there, I’ve certainly done that and quite frankly I not only bought the damn t-shirt but procured the whole rack of clothes and displayed them in front of a multi-national crowd full of bigwigs and industry types.
So, what now? Where can someone with my set of skills possibly go except into space? It truly is the final frontier. I don’t know, it seems a bit too final to be shooting myself off into the unknown in the hope of finding a line of employment that could possibly compete with my bustling CV of “endless success”.
Last night I was trying to think about what else I could do, something that was within my grasps on planet earth which would negate the requirement for interstellar space travel (I’ve seen the figures and it is a smidgen too costly for me coppers) and do you know what my best idea was? What surged to the front of my mind to take centre stage, all my attention?
I was going to use my tiny man hands to fix tiny ant vehicles. I would put those years of “experience” fixing washing machines to help our friends, the ants, to get back on the road after serious accidents and engine failures. I’ve got discounts and payment plans set up for regular customers. There’s Bonbon in the back, he’s good with people and ants, and looks after the place when I have to make deliveries. Running a successful garage isn’t just about fixing stuff after all, it’s about customer service, a friendly face and lashings of car air fresheners.
I can’t tell what’s a good idea anymore. I may have finally *finally* gone over the edge in a barrel. That is, unless one of you could suggest something new that I could try?