Eating Posh

There is no better way of saying ” I love you” that grossly overpaying for stuff. Be it a sparkly thing, some amputated herbage or elaborate calorie replacement.

And so I enter into the realms of one of my biggest fear, the Posh Meal.

The posh meal is an evolutionary thing. If you can spend resources on something non-essential, something not critical to life then that means you are in some sort of surplus and therefore a good mate. It is why women are attracted to men who play football, paint pictures, sing songs, write poems, pretend to be someone else in films and TV and of course like to spend three hours eating a meal.

I was here to demonstrate my Darwinian prowess, to confirm that my children will be strong and healthy, to show that I can deal with any future uncertainty for me, my wife and my family in whatever apocalypse, world war, global warming, meteor strike or alien invasion should befall us. What better way to do that than paying some slave lots of money while he labours for hours on end blow torching a stripe of chocolate sauce onto the side of a kumquat?

A restaurant is posh if any of the following are true

  • The chef has a name
  • The waiters look like they have just knocked off a shift at Ciro Citterio
  • Words like äperatif”,  “digestif” and “Amused Boosh” are employed
  • There is fuck all beer

The chef here did have a name. It was Tim Allen. Obviously I had never heard of him in a food sense but was pretty sure he was the voice of Buzz Lightyear. Should I warn him in advanced that my Credit card does not go to infinity and beyond?

We decided on the “tasting menu” which meant we entitled to consume the amount of calories that a reasonably popular person would while licking 50 stamps to stick on cards around Christmas time. With each of these 7 courses we were going to be treated to a wine that was carefully selected by a Silmarillion to go with the flavours on our plates.

The first course didn’t even come on a plate, it was on a spoon. It was some kind of cheese ball in pastry. I have to be careful here, bigger things have gone up my nose while running outdoors. I had to at least force it to touch the sides of my mouth so that I can at least feign an answer to the loaded question “did you enjoy your course?”

Next up sounded delicious, a cauliflower and curried lentil puree.   With this I had wine. It was brought over especially from the foothills of south east Spain where the dry warm climate of the small valley combined with the rotational winds from the Atlantic help to produce a uniquely exotic but classically flavoursome grape that produces this crisp and aromatic cacophony of sweet flavour which is perfect for floretted vegetable creams.

OK he didn’t say exactly that but I’ll tell you the two things I remembered about it. It was white and it tasted like wine.

Now we were heading for the two main courses the first being a fish dish expertly arranged by someone with too much time on their hands. I looked down at my sliver of fish and wondered what they had been doing instead of providing food on a plate.   With this I enjoyed the history of another wine, this one I believe from Italy, where the reflective glare of the olive fields resonates with the sound of people yelling “Mama Mia!” and filtered through the volcanic ash of Pompeii a number of years ago which creates a perfect accompaniment to anything that eats plankton.

I exaggerate once more, all I remember about this wine was that it was white and it tasted like wine.

I felt very underdressed for this, I was wearing jeans with a smart shirt. I felt eyes on the lower half of my body in ways I had not experienced since I went to the doctors to have a hernia checked out. I pulled my trousers down and he said “hmmmmmm, I can barely see it” as he squeezed my balls. That was at the doctors not the restaurant though oddly I left this place with more of a feeling that my balls had been mis-handled.

This repeated for another course where the main course changed to pork. It was hard work ensuring the food did actually touch the sides. Course 5 I think was some sort of Lemon sorbet with four different ways of preparing a lemon. This was presented as a “palette cleanser”. I was tempted to say “Nah, it’s alright mate my palette isn’t dirty”.

At some point the wine changed colour and then it turned into a port which I actually really liked and decided that I might become a port drinker. My last drink was a beer, I just wanted to see if the beer was sold like the wine, with a back story. It was. This was a fine Spanish premium beer from Barcelona, almost like a pilsner but with a more botanical character. It was Estralla, you can get it in Sainsbury’s for a lot less than in here.   We were in there for more than three hours in total, I’ve run marathons faster than that.

The other day I stopped off at one of those disgusting “chickoland” places to get some chips on the way home. The Wife piped up and glibly asked the chap at the counter whether their chicken was free range. He said that it wasn’t. I warned her that next time we are in a posh restaurant and they sell foie gras I am going to ask them whether the gooses “volunteered” to eat all that food.   I have recently been taking some painkillers for an injury, my doctor said to take them three times a day after meals. I’m not sure whether this counts.

There is an “all you can eat buffet” at a place near where I work. I once smashed 1.5kg of food there in one sitting. For the price I paid for this I could have had 101 1.5kg meals.

Keeping and open mind

There is nothing worse than wandering around a small town when really hungry to find that there is nowhere to eat. Particularly if your wife is adverse to slumming it with food. This became a risk when the wife and I were in Ivinghoe, a beautiful small town in Hertfordshire full of idylic little cottages, village greens, victorian post boxes but unfortunately no McDonalds.

We headed to the most popular eatery in the town, the Rose and Crown, a nice pub in the centre of town. On entering the pub we were told that there was a private function that night and they will not be serving food to anyone else. Bugger, the only other place I saw in town was a tatty looking place down the road called “The Kings Arms”. Sounds perfect to me, they probably serve cheap burgers, nice beer and will be screening Sky football. I figured it was going to be harder to sell it to her though.

“Keep an open mind” I said, hoping she would be happy with a bowl of chips and a salad if her gluten free/free range/organic demands were going to get in the way of my hunger.

We approached the door and had a look at the menu.

Blimey they have starters and they look a bit pricey, I can’t even see a burger on the mains. What’s that? Quail? Foie Gras??

I slowly realised that this was no regular “pub” but a proper posh restaurant, I should have expected nothing less as this was a very expensive little town. I looked across at the wife who was already salivating with the prospect of eating hardly any really expensive food. She shot me a smug look, an eyebrow raise and the awful awful words;

“Keep an open mind dear”.

Bollocks. Twatted in the face by my own glib comment.

And so we entered and there was almost an immediate exoneration. We were looking a little scruffy and the “Garcon” didn’t like the look of us. Think of a French version of Manuel but with the contemptuous sneer that I have only otherwise seen on the face of that beardy scouse twat on the Great British Cake Show.

We did the usual “table for two please” and he immediately yelled that there was no space in the restaurant. For the first time in my life I felt like Julia Roberts. He just didn’t want us there, just like that hat shop did not want a high class hooker buying their stuff. I was tempted to make a scene, or at least drive to a chip shop and return and rub his face in it.

“Yeah, remember me? You wouldn’t serve me yesterday. Now look at me. Full of chips and battered sausage. I even bought a fish cake. BIG mistake. HUGE”

But just as this chap was about to swat us with a tea towel a very nice lady appeared and insisted that there was a table free and we could sit at that. Awesome. No getting out of this now.

Before that though we had to sit in some sort of holding area, with old seats, a bar and someone trying to force feed us foie gras. Oh the ironicalness. It was how I imagine purgatory would be, some bizzare area that we are to sit in and suffer while re reflect upon what we have done with our lives. I probably feel that way because it seems that no matter how many Michelin stars a place has it seems that no posh restaurant will ever go as far as to serve a beer that is no piss lager.

We were taken to our table and I immediately assessed the fork situation. I usually start with three but I know that these will change according to what I order in a strange ceremony that is not unlike the changing of the guards.

She orders some wine. I order a beer. My middle fork is replaced with a slightly prongier one.

We order some kind of set menu and as usual I am derisory of the portions I am predicting will come out. But I had not counted on the main event here. The “specialty” of this place was their duck. They cook a whole duck and it is to be shared between two. Challenge accepted. I can eat half (or more) of a duck. It is a pretty small bird.

So we chose the duck and my inner fork is replaced by another fork that looks suspiciously like the fork I had in the middle in the first place. We go through the courses that I can not remember too much about at this stage due to duck intoxication.

The duck was huge and I was having a really hard time eating it. Gemma was helping out as best as she could but I was determined not to let a posh restaurant beat me. I pride myself on returning plates to the waiting staff perfectly clean of food (hoping for a discount in the bill). Tonight wasn’t to be. I tried to replicate the suffering of those gooses that eat in a really nasty way for our pleasure but I was beaten by the small quacking animal.

But Gemma rescued the situation by asking whether we could take the remaining duck home with us. We could and the next day had a lovely duck broth thing. I got to fell like I beat it in the end even if it took two days.

Shopping for Ladythings

I get given a shopping list and sent to the shops with a clear instruction not to screw anything up. This would seem like a reasonable demand however when you look at the breathtaking choice of even the most mundane items in a supermarket this task becomes much more difficult.

On this list of items (apart from the usual pointless treasure hunt for fringe items such as “lemongrass” and “rice flour”) are a number of “lady” products which are basically sources of anxiety for most men.

First up, tissues.

I use tissues for two things, wiping crap off my arse and snot out of my nose. In fact the latter I often just perform a snot rocket and then use a sleeve. A simple roll of the stuff is fine, it is easily divided into the amount I need for whatever use I have for it.

However  girls have a number of other uses for tissues such as wiping coloured chemicals off their faces, wiping food from their lips and crying. All of these new uses mean that now some new variables become important such as the size of the tissue and it’s method of delivery.

The decision as to whether to get “mansize” or “regular” or “minis” or whatever is further complicated by whether they should come in a box, a packet, a roll or some hermetically sealed plastic that smells of Aloe Vera. I hadn’t even begun to try to understand the textures and flavours as well.

I guessed right with whatever I bought which is better than usual. Apparently there is a rule against bulk buying of arse wiping paper and of it being any colour other than white.

Next up – Hair Products

I would like someone to explain to me what the difference is between “volumising”, “lifting” and “flumping” when it comes to hair. I was under strict instructions to get a small bottle of VO5 “extra flimp” which was in a small pink triangular bottle. There were a number of identical pink triangles on the shelf but only one was not on some sort of 2 for £5 offer and quelle surprise it was this one.

But none of this prepares a man for what is probably the hardest thing in the world to buy. More nerve racking than going into Boots as a young man trying to buy condoms and coming out with yet another meal deal and pack of batteries, more hazardous than buying one of those magazines shrouded in grey film (you may end up with 50s and over or ginger birds) and certainly more stressful than buying a house.

You know what I am talking about.

Now I’ll let you into a secret. There are a couple of rules about marketing things to girls. One is that some girls will only buy anything if it is packaged in pink. Another is that some girls will not buy anything that is packaged in pink. This creates a problem for manufacturers of ladies essentials which they get around quite easily by putting the same product in pink boxes and blue boxes.

However, this causes another problem, the consumers then believe that the company is patronising them by putting the same things in different coloured boxes. “Do you think we are stupid? Just putting the same stuff in different boxes is not going to make me buy it”. This is true. Can you think of anything where a company markets the same thing but differentiates on colour just to sell more to idiots?


Anyway, they get around this by giving the products different names which then confused the hell out of me because I trying to think about (but at the same time trying not to think too much about) what could possibly be the difference between “Ultra Fresh”, “Micro Fresh” and “Super Fresh”.

Once I have tried to navigate the hygiene factors I then have to try and gauge the “size and volume” dimensions that are described in a similar way to how the navy would categorise their fleet. Should I go for the light and fast “dreadnaught” or the slow and heavy “HMS Trident”. I don’t even want to consider nuclear options.

It’s a minefield it really is.

But I survive and make to the checkout, looking out for a frown from the lady who serves me that I may have made a bad choice somewhere in my pile of fresh spices and feminine hygiene products. Instead she hands me one of those supermarket “price match” coupons at the end that informs me

“CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Your shop here with us today was 17% less awkward”.

Economist vs Accountant

I passed my driving test a few days ago. It was the final accumulation of 15 years spent procrastinating. I initially started to learn when I was 17 in a blue car. I failed a test (for speeding, I was nervous and floored it). I then learned a bit in a red car which was nice but my instructor kept taking me round and round some really big roundabouts and I got sick. Finally I started taking some lessons in a silver car and managed to pass, with only two minor faults. Apparently trying to get into the wrong car at the start of the test does not even count as a minor fault.

So I finally did it at the grand old age of 33. I can now legally drive a car on my own without a responsible adult telling me to watch out for the cyclists. As I was told that I passed the test I let out a sigh of relief which I realised did not reflect what I actually thought about passing my test. I felt relieved because of an erroneous idea that that might be the last time I ever need to get behind the wheel of a car.

I HATE driving. I hate watching others drive too. It took so long to a pass the test because I hate it so much. There are fewer tasks I can think of that are worse than driving for many many hours. I don’t know how people do 6 hours drives. I can’t put myself in a position where my focus is needed for such a long time, otherwise lives will be at risk. This causes me anxiety.

Now I suspect that my driving days are not over, I reckon I have it all to come.

My wife LOVES driving though, well mostly. Enough to want to drive everywhere but not enough to stop complaining that I don’t want to drive everywhere. We hired a van recently to drive out to the end of the country to collect some furniture and I knew I was going to appear in a Channel 5 film for “nearest misses” at some stage.

The wife and I had a debate recently (when I say debate I actually mean she said a load of stuff and I said “OK then”). She likes driving and I don’t. Therefore I will always try to convince her that a train/taxi/bus is the best way to cover long distances. However if often comes down to cost. It costs more to get public transport and that is always the dealbreaker. If more pounds leave the bank via a train than a car then the car wins. Plus we are already “paying” for the car anyway.

I paid a lot of money for this gun, it would be a waste if I didn’t shoot people with it.

Anyhoo I would try to counter the argument by bringing in the displeasure of driving. Some people don’t like being freezing cold so they pay a bit of extra money on home insulation. Some people don’t like dying of flu and so they pay a bit of extra money on vaccines and medicine. Some people don’t like driving so they pay a bit of extra money on trains.


So I am going to try with the Economist view of the situation (vs her Accountant view). Economists think in terms of opportunities rather than absolute costs. Accountants think only in terms of absolute costs. A recent trip would have cost about £120 for the two of us in a car whereas a train was more like £180. In terms of pounds leaving the bank, car wins again easily. However the accountant would not factor in the leisure time lost doing something unpleasant.

I work in order to earn leisure time as well as money. I would like to spend this leisure time doing enjoyable things such as reading, writing, blogging and daydreaming. These are things that can be done on a train and not in a car.

This was a 6 hour drive each way. 12 hours in total. That is another day and a half of work. Let’s say I pay myself minimum wage for this work, that’s about £7 an hour or so. 7x£12 is £84. Add this to the £120 of petrol and then in terms of opportunity cost the train is now the cheaper option.

Alas no, pounds and pence are all that matter.

So I am now on the brink of a world where I am going to have to work more hours to earn my leisure time. There may be hope. Perhaps my license could get lost in the post, or I could go blind, or perhaps, oh no wait a second I’m going to have to stop blogging now and hide my laptop as a policemen is signalling me to pull over.

Has she won?

I was on the toilet yesterday (don’t worry I am not going into too much detail on that) when I used the last of the toilet roll. I washed my hands and went to exit the bathroom when I heard the inevitable voice grate right through me.

“Are you going to leave that empty roll there or are you going to replace it with a fresh one?”

I had no response, she was absolutely right and with a little me of a passive grunt I said “hmmmm” and then went through the labour of taking the toilet roll off, replacing it with a full one and then putting the empty roll into the recycling.

I then walked back into the kitchen and had a horrible realisation.

She’s not even here?

That was a voice inside my own head.

Her voice.

What the hell is happening?

Before we were married I bought the wife this lovely picture which I hoped would give her an idea of how much I was going to change after the wedding.

frog princess.jpg


I think she has won.


It's a bit "Turmericy"

You know when you screw something up so badly that you are never asked to do it again?


It was my turn to cook tonight which means I get to spend only 2 hours of the evening messing around on facebook rather than 4.

I had a recipe in my head. It was a Tarka Dal. I can’t think of that without thinking about a brave otter. I had all the lingo sorted. “mulch those chick peas into a smash, twat that chilli onto the pan, whack off an onion”. And so forth.

I arrived home and immediately started rummaging around a load of orange powders. Would it matter if I used mace instead of cayenne pepper? They look the same.

I started the first thing on the recipe and she yelled from another room “It sounds like you are over-roasting cumin seeds”. What? What the hell does that “sound” like? How can you even tell from two rooms away?

I went a bit mental on the turmeric. I saw some fresh stuff in the shop and thought that would make me look pretty cool to use that instead of the ground stuff. Brownie points indeed. Or rather the wife then lectured me on making sure I don’t make everything in the flat yellow as apparently turmeric has a history of turning many a family into the Simpsons.

Everything else went OK, even the rice. I know how to cook rice. Before I met the wife I would cook rice by cooking, draining, sieving, cooking, washing, cooking, scraping, microwaving and then washing again and end up with a bowl of rice jelly. Then I learned it was just one cup of rice and two cups of water and boil. Easy.

I tried my concoction and I don’t know how to describe the taste of something with way too much turmeric in but the word I would use would be “medicinal”. I could eat it, I’ll eat anything but I knew that she was not going to be impressed.

I watched her as she prodded the yellow stuff with her fork. I warned her that it might be a bit “turmericy”. She put in a brave effort but when my beautiful wife looks like a cat licking piss off a nettle I realise that something is wrong.

So she left most of it and this is to be my lunch tomorrow. I feel bad that she didn’t eat much tonight. Perhaps I should make it up to her somehow (no, not that my hands are covered in chilli and that would not be enjoyable).

She says that I can cook again, I just need more practice. I can see her plotting her revenge though. I just know the next meal she cooks will somehow involve courgettes and aubergines. I hate those.

Estate Agents

We are house hunting, which I imagine is just like deer hunting except there is a much higher risk of turning the gun onto yourself. Our first choice for living outside of London was to live somewhere like Berkhamstead but since we are not millionaries we had to be more realistic and consider places like Tring and Wendover.

But now due to some financial jiggery where we might keep our place in London and rent it out we have down scaled our house buying intentions to somewhere further out.

This far out place goes by the name of “Bedfordshire”

First thing we did on arriving was to have a fry up in a pub. It was large and inexpensive. So far so good.

We parked the car in a multi story and forgot to lock it. Amazingly it was not stolen or even broken into. Either Bedford is the nicest place on earth or we drive a worthless car.

We found the one street where all 8 estate agents lived and one by one went in to talk about what we wanted. We want somewhere with 3 bedrooms, a kitchen-dinning room, a reasonable garden and close to a station but we don’t mind whether we don’t get all those so long as there is scope to smash it all down and built what we want out of it.

I started to wonder whether the same approach was used when my Wife decided on a Husband?

Bedford is a “north/south divide” town with a river seperating two distinct areas. South is where the new action is and we were told that the new station being built would be a “revolution for the South Bedford area”.

I considered getting one of those “Che” T shirts but with the face of Martin Umplewood – Senior Transport Planning Director for the South Beds District. They were selling them in the market outside.

After having the same conversation 8 times we headed out in the car to explore some of the areas we were interested in.

As I was shuffling through brochures in the car while we were supposed to be finding the houses I said “this is the place from Peacock Wenlock, remember, that guy with the really nice eyes?”

Errrrmmmm. Yeah I guess.

I am not going to bore you with the inane except to say we saw a load of houses, they all had walls and roofs and she is definitely not up for living in a bungalow. I quite like the idea of moving in somewhere where we (I) won’t have a load of heavy crap to carry up some stairs.

I am scared though, not the moving or the money but that at some stage I might end up caring about the “South Bedford Area”. What if I don’t want the revolution? What if they close the library or pull down a bus stop or condemn a 200 year old oak tree to dereliction? What if I end up caring about this crap? That’s terrifying.

Where is the Dragon Fruit?

When I was a student I worked in a supermarket. It was in the then gun capital of the UK, a place called Longsight in Manchester.

That’s not important. What is important is my memories of this guy who used to come in every Saturday and ask for something that he knew we didn’t have. It was always different and always random.

I worked on the fruit and veg bit and the local area had little need for organic kumquats or pan piped chicory salad infused with fresh rocket stalks but he would always ask anyway just to be awkward.

At the time I just dismissed this as one of those things and hoped I didn’t meet too many strange people like that in my life. To be honest I had not thought about him at all until the other day while flying across the English channel when I had the peculiar realisation.

I think I might have married him.

I have noticed that when the flight attendants get round to serving tea and coffee they will race along the aisle dispensing much needed refreshment I know by the time they get to me my longed for cup of gravelly Kenco will be delayed as they are asked a question like;

Do you have decaff?

Inevitably they don’t and have to go and get it from the back. They are happy to do it but it increases the amount of time where no one can go for a piss because there is a trolley blocking the way.

I sense that it is a game that I was first introduced to ten years ago. The goal of the game is to make sure your adversary has to do some additional walking. A typical bout might go something like this.

“Do you have any liquorice extract tea?”
“Sure we do, right here”
“OK I’ll have that with soya milk”
“No problem, I have some soya milk right h..”
“Ahhhh, OK I will have to have a look in the back for that”.


I would rather she would just just level with the attendant before it gets complicated. Something like;

“Look, the simple fact is that I want something that you don’t have on that trolley. I don’t know what it is because I can’t see in all those drawers and have no idea what you are hiding on those pockets. Can you just tell me what I can ask for that will require you to walk back into the service area and have to go rummaging around”

“Errrrrm. I think we have some insulin in one of the first aid boxes”

“Great, I’ll have that then please with a diet coke”

“Of course, coming right ..”


A Guide to Domestic Bliss

You know the old saying “A women’s work is never done”? It’s a bit dated I know and thankfully as a society we have moved on and no one give a shit anymore about whether that apostrophe is really needed. Well I have been pondering this in the few days that I have been left without “the woman” to “do” the work that is so important. I have learned a few things that I think can make it better.

Cutting out the middle man

We sure do like our bureaucracy. Layers and layers of unnecessary complication fraudulently claiming to enhance our lives. I have decided to make a few redundancies in the flat. I could claim these cuts are in the name of austerity but in actual fact it’s just getting rid of the fucking useless.

The Washing Basket – I wear clothes. I take of clothes. I put clothes in washing machine. When washing machine id full of clothes I turn washing machine on. How difficult is that? Why are we dedicating 3 square feet of space in the bedroom for this smug wicker jobsworth?
And if you are going to say “what about wool” then I say you should just not buy clothes made out of stupid.

Plates – I run home. There are two near certainties when I get home. 1 – I will require a sandwich and 2 – I will have something in the post. I open the post and then make the sandwich on the envelope. Simple


The toilet seat. I thought the “neutral” position for the toilet was for one seat (the hollow one) to be down. So anyone who needs to do a sit down toilet can and guys can lift the bottom seat if they are worried their aim is a bit Emile Heskey. This is fair. But no, I am told to put BOTH seats down. The justification is as follows
“That way everyone has to lift something”.
So let me get this straight. By putting both seats down we are creating MORE work for ourselves now so that at some point in the future we have MORE work to do? This is the stupidest thing ever. Imagine what we could have done with all that collective time spent faffing around with toilet seats and nearly pissing ourselves? We could be exploring galaxies, curing cancer or dicking about on facebook.

Curtains – I won’t labour this one. If it’s dark when I leave the house and dark when I get home then who the hell benefits if I open the fucking curtains????

Money is time

We have a water filter. It’s great. For just £12 a filter you can prevent your £7 kettle from getting fucked. 17 filters in the last 5 years and the kettle is still going strong. Bargain.

Standby – A TV on standby uses 0.4watts of power. Times this by seconds in a day and days in a year you get 3000 calories.
Getting off my arse to go and switch it off properly (including mental distress) over the course of the year costs about 5000 calories.
It is actually better FOR EARTH for me to leave the bloody thing on standby.
Plus the electricity charges for those 3000 calories will be about £5. The cost of replacing those calories is about 10 big macs (£25.40). If you can’t do the math then all I can say is “yes I’ll have fries with that”.

Pissing in the shower, goes without saying

Inconvenience shopping

I don’t really know what to do about this one. When shopping for stuff I have to go on a journey. I head down along the windy canal to a busy market where I fight off zombie hipsters to buy coffee. I then traverse this sea of c**t to get to the other side and head to the spice shop to buy stuff I can’t pronounce. Then I confuse myself about how to squeeze fresh fruit and vegetables to make it look like I know what the fuck I am doing. Then I head to a butchers where a guy with a meat cleaver intimidates me into buying a chump of cow. I feel like the chump.

If only all of this could be brought under one roof? If only there was some sort of …. I don’t know….. omni-market? mega market?

Well – I can dream…..

How to satisfy women

It’s hard to tell how to impress girls sometimes, and I find it especially difficult with food.

With food I thought the key was to just spunk a huge wad onto a small plate, however things have changed recently and we are in money saving mode to buy a new house (which we seem to be buying from Ryanair as we are having to pay extra for the plug sockets and light switches, but that is another blog).

So now I need to impress her with inexpensive food. I thought this is as hard as trying to give her the perfect kiss with halitosis. Super noodles are apparently not an option which is a shame because they could sustain me for 6 weeks for the price of a door knob on the living room of our new house.

However I think I may have cracked it. It’s not the size of the boat but the motion in the ocean, or to translate to something even vaguely to do with cooking, it’s not how much to spend on the ingredients but how much fucking around you have to do to make them into a meal.

There is a standard I now measure her pleasure and that is how many instruments I need to use to satisfy her. We are still talking cooking here, stick with me.

I made Moroccan Soup which on the face of it looked like plonking a load of lentils into pan and blasting it. It was an oversight on my part that it was going to take a lot longer than that but this was my amazing discovery.

Started off easy, all it needed were some onion to be chopped (1 – chopping board, 2 – knife, 3 – pan, 4 – wooden spoon). Then I added a can of chopped tomatoes (5 – can opener) and stirred some more.

Then I had to add some spices which meant using the grinder (6 – tsp spoon, 7 – tbls spoon, 8 – spice grinder). The dishwasher was quaking in it’s corner.

Chickpeas were added but of course they needed to be drained (9 – colander) and then some stock needed to be added in an exact amount (10 – measuring jug) and all stirred around.

It got to the stage where the wooden spoon was redundant and a more stirry plastic spoon was required (11 – more stirry spoon) and left to simmer away (12 – lid).

I added a little garlic (13 – garlic smasher) and then the meal really came into it’s own. I had to involve a lemon in two different ways. I had to put in some rind (14 – grater) and then slice it (with the same knife as the onion so I missed a trick there) and squeeze some juice out (15 – lemon juicer) and then leave it to boil again while I got the (16,17 – trays, 18,19 bowls, 20,21 spoons) ready.

But it wasn’t over yet. The pointless shinny jewelery on any meal goes by the name coriander and it requires a new board (22) and a new knife (23) to flay bits off so that the soup looked more green.

I would have got more if I had somehow pan-piped a kumquat or steam-flooped an otter I maybe could have hit 30 but that will have to wait for another day and another occasion.

And that gave me a good score overall. The soup tasted alright too.

I have made a scorecard for how to satisfy a woman which you might find useful. basically use;

0-10 utensils if you really just want to go to sleep tonight ignoring the wife

10-20 if you just want to keep her happy enough to not want to kick you out

20-30 if you perhaps might be planning to spend more time in the pub this week than she would ideally like (this is what I was doing by cooking in the first place)

30-40 if you have recently forgotten an anniversary. Even one of those stupid ones like “two years since we first went camping together”.

40+ I don’t think I have ever reached this territory but I imagine this is where you go if you are about to suggest a threesome.

Bedknobs and Beer

“ – you’ll like this place” my wife promised me as she started rearranging my weekend in light of my foot injury. I was supposed to be doing some running this weekend but a run-in with a car put paid to that.

I figured that I am unlikely to like this place as it sells sofas which I don’t find particularly exciting. However she added that they serve coffee and beer in order to appease the other half who inevitably finds situations like this quite stressful.

“So you could say it’s a pub/coffee house with very comfy places to sit?”

Now you are talking.

There is a time in every man’s life where he has to answer some really important questions. Not the boring ones like “what is the purpose of life” or “how should I raise my child?” No these ones are much harder to answer because in fact it is hard to actually have an opinion on them. Questions such as;

“How will the shine and texture of this door knob affect the quality of my life over the next twenty years?”

I find it hard to put myself in a situation where I can even imagine that any door knob will somehow improve or be a detriment to my life. However it is not good form to say “I don’t know”, worse to say “I don’t care” and perhaps worse still to say “I don’t want to care”.


So I have to walk the fine line of giving enough input so that I appear interested while not going over the top “MARVELLOUS!, this shade of mahogany will accentuate the olive bronzing of your skin in summer quite deliciously”.

It is difficult.

But I think are onto a winner here by making this a lot less stressful for the less interested party. I do obviously want to live in a lovely house and already have the most lovely wife however I feel a bit stressed on being pressed about things I don’t feel like I can give an informed opinion on. If you were to ask me one what to do about the demise of the English bat and ball team in the ashes this year you will be met with a shrug.

I could not form an opinion on a bed. I don’t often look down at the bed (when I am facing that way naturally my attention is somewhere else). I just lie on it and look upwards, with my eyes closed and so the look of a bed is not that important to me. However I did strangely have an opinion on a sofa. I wanted it to be a “L” shape for some reason. Not sure why but think I hid it well.

Later we went to some posh shop on the Fulham Road looking at dining tables. They were set up to make dining look like punishment. Why would anyone buy anything here. It reminded me of the Harry Enfield sketch.

Best Case Scenario

OK guys. I have a question for you. Look at this picture and tell me “which one is your favourite penguin”?



Impossible isn’t it? They all look the same. I am sure on the inside they all have their own little personalities and their own unique hopes and dreams and outlook on life but from where I am looking they each look like a similar sized meal.

However imagine if you were made to chose one, and here’s the biggest problem, imagine if you were asked why you chose it? You’d go mad right?

But this is the world of anxiety that I am plunged into when traipsing around “Poufes R Us” trying to imagine how an arrangement of planks of hardwood are going to affect the quality of my life for the next 20 years.

I will take here the bookcase as an example. A bookcase is a collection of 4-6 horizontal planks of wood (supported by a couple of vertical planks) on which one puts books. I am completely blind to any other variation in this, whether it is the wood used or some fancy carving. I’m not going to look at the shelves, I’m only going to look at the books when it is full of books.

Obviously the main reason for furnishing a house is to impress others who come to visit but don’t live there. I think the best way to do this is by the books on the shelf rather than the case itself. I want people to look at my books and think “oohhh, Russell, Godel, Penrose – this guy is a bit of an intellectual”. I don’t want them looking at the wood.

Incidentally this is how I judged the suitability of homes that I viewed in the house hunting stage. By looking at their books you can gauge what “type” of person lives there and whether I could be compatible with that. I am not sure the wife understood my hasty exit from one property but on seeing Dan Brown, Game of Thrones and something about the girl who kicked the Badger’s arse on a bookshelf I panicked that there might be mercury in the water eating their brains and making me sterile. 

So I play a dangerous game. Since there is nothing physically different between all these bookcases (and bedside tables, chests of drawers, welsh dressers and semi-welsh dressers) I use the only marker available which is the price. I know that the more expensive ones are more desirable for some reason and so I look at one that is on the pricey side and say “oooooh, I don’t mind this one”. The ideal answer to this is “Yes that’s nice darling but it is a bit expensive”. Then at least I have given the impression that I am trying.

Obviously the worst case scenario would be her saying “YES!!!! I love it, lets get it” and then forever be ruing the day when the cost of my book planks cost more than the books.

Did I really just do a whole blog post about a bookcase? Oh well. Next up is beds. You know, that thing you lie down on, look away from for about 10 minutes until you are unconscious. It’s important that it looks good.