Typical. You need to use the payphone and some idiot decides to jam a collection of old storage boxes folded into the tight space along with packing material thus taking up all the area I need in order to make my phone call. I mean I can hardly use the phone on the street, everyone will hear my conversation.
I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me.
What does disappointment look like to you? Is it a flaccid (easy now) aubergine that hasn’t managed to grow fully in your allotment? Is it a shiny new 50p coin with a huge dent in the edge? Is it learning that Claire Richards from Steps is coming back with a new solo album? It comes in many shapes and forms and sadly there is no escaping the silky, wet glove that is disappointment.
I recently went on a ship and sailed to a different part of the world. It was excellent all the time (whispers, “all the time”) and even though I must have eaten twice my weight in steak and burgers a good holiday was had by all. The ship was swimming in luxury. If you wanted to sit in a hot tub all day sipping champagne and eating tiny desserts you could. If you wanted to go to their cinema and watch four films back to back you could. If you wanted to watch a questionable stage production by one time flatmate of Robbie Williams, Jonathan Wilkes, then you could (the only time we went to the theatre was on the last day when we were leaving and there was no more time for japes).
Families with children were also catered for on a higher level. In addition to the various play rooms and activities there were pools, swimming pools, pools with pizza stations next to them and some kind of sports facility on the very top deck. I would have investigated however we all know I am allergic to 85% of sports in the general population. Did I mention the pools? They even had a night time nursery service so if you wanted to leave little Billy with a responsible adult so you could go get shit-faced in the bar and then return around 1am to pick him up then you could. You really, really could.
As two adults with no small people there was little chance that we could take advantage of any of these facilities. Not that we wanted to but, hey, nobody likes being left out. When the holiday was being booked there was the hint made by the company that some celebrities who would be onboard for a meet and greet. I heard ‘Wallace’ and ‘Gromit’ and I knew that I had to get involved in this kind of action. For four days there was no mention of them anywhere in the leaflets they left outside your day to inform you about the daily activities going on. Nothing whatsoever. Finally on Wednesday morning, cowering towards the bottom and wedged between something called ‘Jukebox Hero’ and ‘Pilates’, was the following:
“Wallace & Gromit Special Appearance – A special appearance from Wallace and Gromit. Come and say hello to the cheese-loving inventor and his faithful four-legged friend.”
We had to go. There was no way we could miss such an event as this. The queue was very long and started snaking through the whole of the atrium; clearly this was a big event for all. We decided to keep back and watch from afar rather than getting too close. Our location meant we could see everything. Like a couple of divas they were ten minutes late. What then happened can only be… well it needs… look at the damn photo:
Not even two people in suits. We’ve got a fully-sized Wallace and a tiny Gromit that he can fully pick up with one hand, no doubt sewn to his hand because he never put him down. I don’t know if the organisers of this even have ever seen ‘Wallace and Gromit’ but they’re fairly even in height due to the latter walking on his hind legs for a lot of the time. The kids that were hugging and posing for photos were fine with the arrangement; not a single one asked to speak to the manager or had some quiet words with a member of staff. It was clear that we were in the minority so we slipped away and discussed our respective disappointment over coffee and cake.
The last time my sister visited from Sweden we went round to my brother’s house, as we always do whenever there’s a family gathering because he has the biggest house. We all brought food and had a general chit-chat. It was the same as it ever was.
It was, that is, apart from Sarah had a mild fascination with eating food from the 1980’s and kept bring it up in conversation. This continued for a while and when the desserts were brought out this included a very sad-looking Viennetta.
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.
“Oh nothing really,” said Sarah, “it’s been in mum’s freezer for a while but other than that it’s fine.”
“Oh. Could I have a bit more information about that? Only the last time we emptied mum’s kitchen cupboards we found food and spices from Safeway which was very disconcerting given that it hasn’t existed since 2005.”
Sarah goes back into the kitchen to check the box which is still lying on the kitchen counter.
“It says…. 2019. But it’s sugar, right? Nothing is going to happen to sugar. You won’t get poisoned or anything.”
Yes, my sister, the doctor, ladies and gentlemen. I did have a small slice out of curiosity and it did taste a bit funky however it was in a way that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The flavour was there, the ice cream, the wafer-thin chocolate bits, all were present. Still this lingering feeling of uncertainty kept me, and everyone else insane enough to have a bit, from fully enjoying it.
It also had some freezer burn and had to stand for a while before it all fell off.
Look at this berk. I took screenshots of this from some Twitter advert because it looked ridiculous. This guy is doing all these different kinds of exercises as though it’s supposed to inspire you to “reach goals easily” and “no gym, no problem”. What a waste of time.
I wouldn’t mind so much but for the last month or so this has popped up every other day. This guy needs to take a hint and get outta my viso/volto. My viewing eyes don’t need this kind of visual fungus. I don’t care if you can track progress and keep motivated, I don’t care if you can see visible results in four weeks and don’t think you can tempt me with silly muscular arm emojis.
What worries me most is the disclaimer at the bottom of the video: “The stunts in this video were performed by a trained professional. DO NOT ATTEMPT IT.” Stunts? It? They seem to have such a poor grasp of English that even if I wanted to “hit every single muscle” I wouldn’t trust them to do it given that they can’t even word a disclaimer properly.
I expect you may have already seen it but I wanted to spread the word regardless.
As a grown up who doesn’t have any children, I am at liberty to while away my days as I see fit, perhaps enjoying a round of croquet on the lawn now and then, or devoting an entire day to perfecting my butter caramel technique.
This means I am free to buy Lego if I want, and build it all on my own, without any meddlesome children to spoil the experience. Lego is wasted on children anyway. They don’t get it. It’s a sophisticated product for adults like you and I, and long may it remain so.
Not so long ago I treated myself to a new set, thanks in part to a Lego gift card I was given for my birthday. (This is further evidence, as though it were needed, that everyone agrees with me about Lego being for grown ups.) The new set is excellent, for the most part, but in one of its bags I found something that made my blood run cold.
We have long spoken with disdain about the horror of the sixwide Lego car.
There’s a restaurant near us that we sometimes go to, which is in an old building. You’ve been in places like this before: it was an ancient thing to begin with, all wooden beams and low ceilings and big oak beams everywhere, but then it’s been extended by knocking through into bits of other buildings and there’s more bits taking it through the back into what used to be an outhouse of some kind. Now it’s a rambling maze on the inside, full of little rooms and cosy nooks. It’s nice.
Anyway, there’s one table tucked away in a little space of its own, surrounded by oak beam walls and artfully exposed ancient masonry, and whenever people go to sit there, they find themselves having to go up two steps and then go back down one step again. It’s like a little barrier on the way in that is a positive invitation to trip up and go headlong into a table full of unsuspecting diners. The floor level on both sides is barely any different, so it’s just in the way.
Anyway, I’ve noticed this several times and always thought it was odd. Turns out they must get asked about it a lot, so they’ve put a sign on the step to explain why there is a step in this eminently stupid place.
Can you believe that one of the defining moments of my life, and probably of yours too, was ten years ago today? The New Beans didn’t exist back then, so I didn’t record this for posterity as a blog post. The ten year anniversary seems like a good time to put that right.