As you probably know, for the time being I am shacked up in a different flat a long way from home. There are many things about these temporary arrangements that are new and different, but probably the newest and differentest is the windowsill by the front door.
In this little block of flats, you see, there’s a windowsill next to the main door leading out to the car park, and the residents here seem to use it as a kind of informal swap shop. Unwanted items occasionally appear here, with no indication of their origin, and disappear a day or two later.
In the past week, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of items up for grabs, including a whole host of cook books, a coffee table book of photographs of chocolate, and one of those books that only really existed in the late 1980s and early 1990s that had a beige front cover and was specifically about microwaving things.
Here’s the current offer as I write this.
Four dishwasher tablets
Three potatoes in a basket
Three packs of lard, one of which is in a sandwich bag
A small Breville slow cooker
A CD compilation of traditional Christmas songs
The bad news, though, is that this week’s real bounty has already been taken. Here is what the windowsill held yesterday.
Yes, it’s hard to hear, I know, but the Ricky Martin album has already gone. I’ve missed my chance. Someone else in another flat is now Livin’ the Vida Loca, and I’m left slow-cooking my lard and potatoes in silence.
I’m so lazy. Look at me and be uninspired. Just look at me, one big ol’ slobbery mess. I haven’t looked this bad since that stage in my teens when I was gelling up my fringe; a tidal wave of greasy hair fixed in place. God, what was I thinking? It was aggressively bad. Now is worse though. Since the lockdown all I have done is indulge in everything I can get my chubby paws on. I find myself daydreaming about desserts. You know in cartoons when hungry characters start hallucinating? Last week I looked over and where Reuben should have been was a roast ham. It is time for a change.
As Kevin has confessed that he has a soft spot for the doggos, I have done a thing and signed up for a sponsored walk. In May I will be raising money for guide dogs by walking up and down my flat. Yes, it sounds insane and I reckon that by the end of it I may have finally crossed the line, gone through the looking glass. Is it worth it for the doggos? Of course it is. I plan to walk 100,000 steps to get some much needed cashola / dough ray me / fresh bread for Guide Dogs. In order to keep it realistic, I have set a target of £100.00 which would be enough to buy a kit for one guide dog trainer.
It takes 52 steps to walk from the front door to the window in the living room and back again. Based on my poor grasp of maths, I will have to do this 1,924 times in order to accumulate the aforementioned total of 100,000 steps. I have a full week in order to pin down this sucker, which means if I can manage about 275 times each day that should be enough.
If I had Kevin’s legs, which we all know are thrice the length of a normal person’s legs, I would be able to get from front door to window in a handful of leaps. I believe that would make the process a lot more tiresome so I am grateful for my small leg span and smaller step count.
Nobody is rich at the moment. The world is in chaos. I say this sat wearing an Adventure Time hat to keep the hair out of my eyes (my fringe has seriously lost the plot, it needs a chop). Am I still in my pyjamas? What day is it again? The point is that if you can, please sponsor Chesty at the link below:
You will never believe what just happened to me! The short version is that I am currently being paid to not work. I am at home right now not working. If I try to work I will be shouted at profusely so I am sat not working on a beanbag listening to the radio.
The year 2020 has been a strange one so far and it continues to get weirder the more we slide through it. The outside world is still there, I can see it, through the big windows in the living room, and it looks fantastic. I reckon that for the moment I am going to stay here and admire it from afar. Besides, it looks a little chilly and I’ve got this patch of dry skin on my hands that the low temperature will not do any favours for.
I have decided to try and do one drawing, sketch or doodle a day for something to look forward to and possibly upload on Twitter (the Book of Faces does not deserve my “talents”) for the world to admire. I hope to have a wall of my efforts with which I can look back on and laugh slobbily, possibly sell to some passing rich aristocrat (they’re always using the footpaths round here) and then retire to the country, doing the same thing I’m doing now, but with a little more style, panache and some hot ladies in a hot tub serving hot drinks.
Back in April, we learned that Mrs Miggins was redeveloping the heart of her enormous property empire. 75 Farringdon Road, the fine property where either Ian or I fell head over heels in love with the lucrative old crone, had the builders in.
I’ve been back to see what she’s done with the place, and I have to say I’m shocked. Take a look for yourself.
A respectable office building, you think to yourself. A fine example of the tasteful architecture and prime locations that have made Mrs Miggins the property magnate she is today.
I thought so too. But then I noticed something. Have you seen it? Look closer.
There it is. Miggins has handed her shiny new building over to Richard Sisskind of the Crossland Otter Hunt – the only UK hunt that chases otters across land and, presumably, then kills them in horrible ways.
Otters don’t deserve this. Otters are lovely. And I demand to know why Mrs Miggins – once the love of my, or maybe Ian’s, life – has taken on this brutal new pastime.
One thing is for sure. We will not be moving the Pouring Beans office to 75 Farringdon Road. No need to send me those fivers.
Who are you? What do you do? Are you common? I know that it is not very politically correct to ask this question however it needs to be asked. I know that I am common, mainly from the state of my shoes, but also because I eat like a duck with two mouths and I’ve never paid more than £20.00 for a plate of food. I am safe in the knowledge that I am common.
How can I be sure of this though? Is there a test I can take?
Of course there is. Following on from the raging success of my Cake ‘Appropriate Girlfriend (short skirt, long jacket)’ questionnaire now comes the ‘How Common are you?’ questionnaire, mainly based on the lyrics of the popular song ‘Common People’ by Pulp. Depending on how many of these metaphysical boxes you tick (because I don’t know how to ‘do’ boxes on here) dictates how common you, as in you, are. Take a squint at these.
Have you ever:
Rented a flat above a shop?
Cut you hair?
Got a job?
Smoked some fags?
Played some pool?
Pretended you never went to school?
Based on these, I can tick five out of the six boxes. I have never officially got a job and instead make my money by spinning pennies for sailors down at the socks. Do we still have docks? Yes, we still have docks.
What’s that crafty (and also hugely desirable) old property tycoon up to now?
Last we heard of Mrs Miggins, some years ago, she was fitting out her properties with those chrome fittings and understated (yet ostentatious) gardens. But the other day I was in Farringdon when I stumbled across the fateful property where we first encountered her.
It looks like the house where I, or possibly Ian, it was never really made clear in the lyrics, first fell for Mrs Miggins, has been pulled down and is going to be replaced with some stylish offices instead.
My first thought, of course, was sadness: sadness that a place that meant so much to me, or possibly Ian, had been swept away in the blink of an eye to further expand the Miggins real estate empire.
But then I thought no, let’s embrace the change. I propose that we immediately put in a bid to rent some office space there for the official Pouring Beans offices. We’ve been working from home much too long; it’s time we established a base for ourselves. And there could be no more appropriate address than 75 Farringdon Road. I’m ready to chip in my fiver.
Just in time for Kev’s annual Whole House Redecoration (start date 1 November 2018; completion due 25 October 2019), Pouring Beans Chemicals Ltd. are delighted to announce their new home decor paint range.
All our new paints are lovingly hand-made at the large chemical refinery down by the docks.
Neither too yellow, nor too sad, Whimbrel is the colloquial name for the traditional butcher’s apron which this haughty colour embodies. It’s the perfect contrast to our slightly lighter Musty White and Smoky White, creating a trio of colours that sit perilously close together in modern and traditional homes.
Third Degree Burns
The deep blackened pigmentation gives a smug burgundy finish with a wonderfully sore feel. This, our most angst-ridden red, reads almost like a disingenuous purple if you compare it to our more painful looking Internal Bleeding Crimson.
This quietly desperate blue feels wonderfully hopeless, and could be suitable anywhere from a service riser to an airy frotting room. The exact shade is rooted in a despondency palette. Like denim, its blue hue is ultimately worthless and yet always feels tipsy.
This takes its name from the old English expectorations of simple peasants with a poor diet. With its highly pigmented yellow base, this mid green creates a totally unique look by not actually being green at all. It’s a statement colour when contrasted with shades as repellent as Titchmarsh Brown. It is also fabulous when used with furtive glee.
This rich teal takes its name from highly fashionable show-drowning in pre-revolutionary France. Sitting between Punitive Green and Biliousness, its subtle blue undertones work particularly well in modern aquatic spaces. Slop onto industrial processing units alongside Huguenot Fishwife on pipes and valves for a clean finish that is conducive to modern industry.
Other shades are also available. Please ask your stockist to mix two cans together and see what they get.
In the last 24 hours I have learned a lot. Here are some things you should not do.
When making a very short journey of just a few minutes in your car, don’t empty your pockets in the normal way, placing your wallet, phone and keys into the space below the radio. You might forget them when you get out.
Don’t time your journey to arrive at your destination – for example, a garage where you’re leaving it overnight because it’s booked in for some work in the morning – eight minutes before they close.
In your rush to get through the door and hand them your car key, don’t forget to take everything you need. For example, when you’ve picked up your wallet and phone and put them back in your pockets, don’t forget to have a look and see if your house keys are still in the car before you get out and lock it.
Don’t wait until you’ve made a 25 minute journey home (including some walking, some waiting for the bus and some sitting on the bus) before looking for your house keys. If you wait that long you will only realise you haven’t got them when you’re standing outside the building where you live and you’re unable to get into it.
Don’t make a 25 minute journey back to a now-closed garage (for example, it’s just an example) because when you get there you will find that your car has been helpfully moved by one of their staff inside a gated and locked compound, and is now tantalisingly visible but completely inaccessible behind an eight foot metal gate with spikes on. If you happened to leave, I don’t know, your house keys in it, you will not be able to get them.
If you decide to ignore this advice, and you are welcome to do that if you want, then at least heed this warning: don’t do all the things above on the one night in several months when your flatmate is three hours away seeing his family and there is nobody at home who can let you in.
If there are any more things you should not do, please rest assured I will end up inadvertently doing them at some point, and I will come back and let you know about them so you don’t have to do them yourself.