Avatar Free to a good home

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.

Avatar Four Word Reviews: A Christmas Album

April is truly the most Christmassy month. There are several reasons for that. The first is that it just is. I mean, Christmas happens in December, obviously, but that really just makes the idea of December being the most Christmassy month a bit bourgeois and low-brow. No, April’s right on the fashions. The second reason is the weather – all that blazing hot sunshine that’s turned up in the last few days can’t help but make you feel festive. And the third reason is that it was in April last year that we listened to Mahalia’s Christmas album. (You did listen to it, didn’t you?)

Needless to say, then, this April we’re spinning another yuletide disc. This one is A Christmas Album, recorded in 1967 by Barbra Streisand.

Read More: Four Word Reviews: A Christmas Album »

Avatar Happy Christmas, Ian

Everyone loves Christmas. It’s a special time of the year when I get very stressed trying to buy and wrap presents for all the people in my life and then somehow deliver them all to the right people so they will get to enjoy them on Christmas Day.

Almost everyone in my life got their Christmas presents and, on Christmas Day, opened them and hopefully enjoyed them. But not everyone in my life follows the usual path. Not everyone lets themselves be led by the forces of what is “normal” or “sensible” or “in any way reasonable”. Such as, for example, Ian.

In advising me how to get my presents to him, Ian suggested I drop them off at his mum’s house. I did this, at approximately 5pm on Christmas Eve. Ian’s suggestion was not, however as sensible as it seemed, or indeed sensible at all, because he only got those presents on his next trip to Leeds, and that was yesterday.

I could have posted them to Newcastle and he could have had them on Christmas Day. I could have brought them to Newcastle when I was there last month to see him. But no. This is not his way. This is not how his Christmas rolls.

And so, now that Ian has finally got his presents in early March, I am wishing him a very happy Christmas, and offering him my best wishes for 2019.

Avatar Four Word Reviews: Christmas with Mahalia

It’s been the hottest April since records began, or something, with temperatures up to 28°C here in the tropical south last week. The flowers are out in force, bees are buzzing around and the sky is a clear, vivid blue. With all that in mind, then, I am unable to explain why this might be a good time to review Christmas with Mahalia, a 1968 album featuring ten gospel versions of Christmas songs with rich orchestral and choral accompaniment. But evidently it is a good time, because here we are.

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Avatar Christmas mop-up

Another Christmas has died and been buried in the garden. The tree is crackling nicely in the fireplace and the leftover cake has been used to block up a hole in the kitchen wall where a pipe used to come through.

Let’s see how we did.

Wearables

  • Pack of ten socks

Edibles

  • Box of orange Matchmakers

Readables

  • Jeremy Paxman’s autobiography

Motoring accessories that duplicate things I got for free in a nice presentation pack from the garage when I bought my new car but I’m too polite to tell anyone

  • Paintwork cleaner
  • Dashboard polish
  • Bug shifter sponge
  • Car washing sponge
  • De-icer spray
  • Screenwash

Avatar Christmas Dessert War

Christmas is nearly here. The season of eating a bit too much and feeling very full all day and still somehow continuing to eat Celebrations all afternoon. The season of Many Desserts.

This is the Christmas Dessert War. Pick a side and choose your favourite. Only one can survive*.

The candidates are:

  • Christmas pudding (with brandy sauce or custard, don’t mess me about with a drizzle of cream, nobody wants cream)
  • Christmas cake (with icing AND marzipan, and ideally a slice of Wensleydale on the side)
  • Yule Log (don’t choose this)
  • Other (please specify)

I choose Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. And if you don’t want any I’ll have yours.

(* all the desserts will survive and continue to be available for eating)