Here we are again, starting a whole new year with the unnerving feeling that if we go outdoors for any length of time we will cause the immediate and irreversible end of all life on earth. Staying in and doing nothing has its charms of course, not least the fact that I can wear the same pair of pyjamas all day long for a whole week. But there’s not much to write about.
Hello, and to a certain extent, welcome. Thank you for coming. My name is The Honourable Sergeant-Major Professor Lord Sir Elbert Louche, KBE, and it is with great pleasure and moderate smugness that I return again this year to deliver the annual State of the Beans Address.
It is a very different address this year, of course. For social distancing reasons, I am speaking to you from the top of the ornate clock tower that adorns the Beans, with my voice amplified using all the many shouters attached to the corners of the tower. And for you, the audience, this is a drive-in event. I must ask you to please remain within your cars, and choose between either opening your windows slightly for ventilation, or breathing. You cannot do both.
Another year is over, Christmas has ended, and all that remains is to sweep up a large quantity of pine needles from the carpet, move an item of furniture over the conspicuous mulled wine stain in the middle of the living room, and plant a boot firmly in the arse of 2020 to make sure it departs on time and never returns.
What’s left, now the stocking has been emptied, the wrapping paper is off and the dust has settled? Let’s have a look.
Large Stanley sorting box with starter collection of screws, bolts, dry wall fixings and other DIY essentials
Bird table camera for capturing visiting wildlife in HD video without having to leave my iPhone on a windowsill and then spend 20 minutes looking for it even though it was me that put it there
Chocolates intriguingly shaped like walnuts and acorns
Odd coffee bags that make very fancy coffee by pouring hot water into a paper bag, somehow
Large bars of marzipan. I fucking love marzipan
Husky ride where I get to drive the huskies (not sure how you drive a dog but since I basically like having a go at driving anything I’m allowed to climb into I am well up for this)
Well done everyone. Now let’s buckle up for 2021. It can only be better than 2020.
It’s almost two years since we all joined hands and took an emotional journey underneath my car. Two years of laughter, tears and general wear and tear. Two years of usage in all weathers.
There has, naturally, been a clamour from people of all nationalities and faiths to know what’s become of the underside of my vehicle in the intervening time. And who am I to stand in their way? So a couple of weeks ago, I returned my car to the same garage who made the first weird video and asked them for a full service.
Service completed, another weird video of the underside of my car was duly texted to my phone, and I have spent an afternoon trying to download it from a website that has been very specifically and cleverly designed to prevent videos being downloaded. I then set it to stupid music.
Here we are then. Join me once more as we go… underneath my car one more time.
Underneath Chris’s Car 2020 FAQ
Q. The tread depth looks a bit low on the front tyres, is that OK?
A. Yes, I know. But they have at least another half a year on them so it’s fine. I’ll get them sorted later.
Q. Why was there no Underneath My Car video in late 2019/early 2020?
A. I don’t know. My car had a service but they didn’t make me a video. I was genuinely a bit disappointed about it.
Q. How did the MOT go? This was its first MOT wasn’t it?
A. Yes it was. You’ll be pleased to know that my car passed with flying colours.
Ages ago, we got a transparent bird feeder that attaches to a window with suckers. When birds come to have some lunch, we can see them. It’s nice.
Lately I’ve been on a quest to get a picture of one of them and it’s harder than you think. If you move too much, they dart away, so you can’t just grab your phone and walk over. And if you’re not up close, they’ll be too small in a picture anyway.
Anyway, the other day I left my phone propped up by the window and set it recording, and then just left it for about 45 minutes. The downside was that, half an hour later, I spent some time swearing copiously and scouring the flat for a phone I thought I’d stupidly lost. The upside was that (once I remembered I hadn’t lost it and had deliberately left it recording) I found that I’d captured our robin friend paying a visit.
So here’s the video of our robin. It’s not very funny or silly but I think it’s pretty cool. I like him. I’m glad he enjoys dining with us.
I don’t like Black Friday. I don’t like that it’s an American thing that makes no sense here, and I don’t like that it’s a ridiculous incentive to buy stupid crap I don’t need, and I don’t like that it causes stampedes of morons to trash shops in the hope of getting a bargain on a games console. I don’t like Black Friday.
So when Black Friday rolls around I take a principled stand and refuse to take part. My morals are stronger than my desire for bargains. Or so I thought.
This year I happened to be doing some Christmas shopping online when I hit on the Amazon list of Black Friday deals, and something turned my head.
I couldn’t resist. I was weak. I bought it.
I splashed out a totally unplanned £5, and now I have a pack of five adhesive cable clips in a range of sizes to keep all my wires tidy at the back of my desk.
Im not proud of it. But at least, when my standards slipped, it was for a just cause.
I recently discovered something I didn’t know, which is that there is a word in the English language that breaks my brain. I can’t process it. Something about it just doesn’t fit inside my head.
The word is “froths”.
This came up the other day when I needed to describe something frothy to someone. I attempted to say that it “froths up”, but every time I tried to say it, my head got stuck and the word that came out was “frothies”. I made four attempts to say “froths”, all of which were “frothies”, and then I gave up and started a new sentence that avoided using the word altogether.
I don’t know why this is. I don’t know how long this has afflicted me. I know the word “froths” exists, of course. I can sit here and type it. But each time I’m approaching the point of typing it, my brain first suggests “frothies”, and even now – even knowing that this is a problem, and that the word is coming up, and being conscious that I might get it wrong, I still can’t say it right on the first attempt.
I have decided that, from now on, I’m just going to stay away from any bubbly, foamy or otherwise aereated liquids as a way of avoiding the problem completely. That’s definitely the answer.
There’s a serious problem that we have all been completely failing to address, and it’s been going on for too long now. I have decided to fix it. The arrangement of bank holidays across the year is inconsistent, unfair and stupid.
Just look at this chart showing where all the bank holidays fell in 2020. What a mess.
Just spacing them out evenly wouldn’t bring an end to this madness, because there’s only seven of them. That would mean a wait of 52 days between free days off work, a barely acceptable waiting time.
The solution is obvious. More bank holidays, sprinkled evenly throughout the year, so we get one about every two weeks. That’s a massive win. Here’s my suggested list.
New Year’s Day
Box Set Thursday
Spring Cleaning Day
St Patrick’s Heavy Drinking Day
First T-Shirt Day of the Year
The Other May Bank Holiday
Boxing Day (relocated)
Wimbledon Finals Day
Beer Garden Friday
Holiday Packing Day
Summer Bank Holiday
DFS Sale Day
Steak Pie and Mash Day
Winter Coat Day
Wellies and Leaf Crunching Day
Christmas Shopping Day
New Year’s Eve
This results in a much better spread of bank holidays through the year, as shown below.
Please consider this the start of my campaign to enshrine these new bank holidays in law, and also the start of my campaign to be Prime Minister. Thank you.