Monday, 30 January 2012

Monday's musings

The toilet seat in the downstairs cloakroom has just broken. (I'll spare you a picture!) We have had to buy a new one. Why? Because a washer – hardly bigger than this letter O – has broken and the screw which holds it on has corroded too much to be removable. So an otherwise perfect wooden toilet seat is consigned to the scrapheap. This is the third item in recent weeks that has had to be scrapped because of the failure of some tiny part or other. I do wish manufacturers would put as much effort into making the little bits as they do into the prettiness and complexity of their products.

Here's another creation with a design fault. It's a wonderful thing – a striker that creates a spark and can start a fire in any circumstances. But the handle is too small and holding it is made even more awkward by the positioning of the chain through the middle. Such a little thing and so easy to have got it right.

(Photo from the web - no copyright details known)

Having commented on books versus films the other day I did something most unusual and watched the start of a TV series of the book 'Birdsong' (ranked 10/10 in my book blog). I was curious to see if they could make it half as excellent as the book and to my surprise it was very good, not least because of the presence of Clémence Poésy as Isabelle. I appreciate beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder but in my view she is extremely attractive.

I am not sure how lucky we are to have fruit and vegetables all year round nowadays. It makes recipe planning a lot easier but I miss the anticipation of things coming into season. As children we used to look forward to the days of early July when the first West Country strawberries would arrive here on Merseyside. Mum's birthday in mid-July would often be celebrated with Scottish strawberries or those from the local Lydiate fields. Nowadays we can have strawberries all year round and they have lost a lot of their excitement and exotic feel.

And finally, a question. Why do we blokes get asked questions to which there is no sensible answer? After making a very weird statement the other day Partner-who-drinks-tea asked “Does that sound stupid?” Can anyone tell me what the appropriate acceptable answer might be?


  1. The appropriate answer would be one of the following:

    a/ No.

    b/ Why do you think anyone might think that sounds stupid?

    Please note that neither of these answers guarantees that you'll get out of it unscathed at the end...

  2. Thanks, Monica. All I know is that the answer 'Yes' means you spend the next three days taking your meals through a straw.

  3. You watched the start of Birdsong? Did you watch the end? I too enjoyed it very much.

  4. Not yet, Helen, but I've got it on the hard disk and will do so.

  5. "Birdsong" was indeed a memorable book. When I read it, I had not yet started to post book reviews on my blog, but I remember it well.
    So far, I have seen the beautiful actress three times before; she plays Fleur DeLaCourt in the Harry Potter movies from "Goblet of Fire" onwards, and her character is supposed to be the school's beauty with all the boys wishing she'd be their girlfriend.

    Strawberries and all the other seasonal fruit are still very much seasonal to me; where I do most of my shopping, they often have fruit from the region, which means strawberries and asparagus from mid-May to the end of June. Oranges and tangerines are normally on offer during the winter months, while apples and bananas are there all year round. Grapes in late summer and autumn.

    Regarding small things that could have been done better: the Challenger disaster happened because of a tiny part going faulty that cost less than 1$, or so I've read (and averse weather).

  6. The answer I would have liked to have received - "No, of course not darling, the remark seems perfectly reasonable to me." Just think of the brownie points you would have racked up!!

  7. Appropriate answer: "Of course not!"

    By the way one of our local television stations reported the results of a survey the other day:

    What comment is most likely to strike fear in the hearts of men?

    Answer -- "Darling, we need to talk!" :0)

    Have a great day, even if it is Monday, and all the small bits of the world are falling apart! Hugs, C.

  8. I've had the same gripe recently over electrical kitchen utensils.

    A friend also saw the Birdsong BBC adaptation and was very impressed. Presumably it will eventually be available on DVD. I will have to set up my equipment in Eagleton so that I can remotely operate it from NZ!

    I've also blogged about the fact that in NZ fruit and vegetables are, on the whole, eaten in season albeit that most brascicas, root crops, apples and citrus fruits are available all year round because they can be stored or grown here all year round.

    As for the answer to the question about questions I think Monica has the answers. Truth comes second to self-preservation.

    But then Leslie (was his name Leslie?) who was a friend of Mum and Dad's and lived on the Wirral (that narrows it down - not) would not have approved. He didn't even believe in little white lies.

  9. Looks like I may be watching Harry Potter in the near future, Librarian!

    Carol, "Darling, we need to talk!" would terrify me. Apart from anything else Partner-who-drinks-tea doesn't call me Darling but even if she did the very idea of 'We need to talk' is guaranteed to have any man running for cover.

  10. My complaints about tools tend toward how manual can openers are designed. But, then, I scored in the lowest fifth per centile in mechanical ability when I was in school...

    Just meandered in here from A Woman of No IMportance. And I think I shall stay. We still can get good clementines in the Northeastern USA only in the winter. I like that.

    But I confess that I LOVE being able to combine fruits in ways we could not when I was small. I feel wealthy when I do.

    People have pretty well covered the answer. Always and forever it must be, "YOU, dear? Sound stupid. I think not." Or, as Dawntreader said, "No."

  11. Probably not a good plan to call her statement weird. How about "Nothing you say could ever sound stupid to me."

  12. I just this evening announced to Tom that I am done buying things like tomatoes out of season. In fact, I'm only going to eat the ones that we grow, or that are at the farmers' markets in the summer.

  13. I like the question you raise in sharing the question, “Does that sound stupid?” Hand-in-hand with the folly of answering particular questions, goes perhaps the greater folly of asking. Is truthful response an issue??? (You should be laughing by now.)
    Further, I love the ambiguity of the question. The question may imply that you are arbiter of: a.) all things “not-stupid” - by extension you are discerning, intelligent, and so on, or b). all things "stupid" - by extension, the opposite of a) above. FUN!!
    Take care, McGregrr

  14. Scriptor, someone once said, "It's not the elephants in life that do us in, it's the gnats!"

  15. Ah, McGregor - "The question may imply that you are arbiter of: a.) all things “not-stupid” - by extension you are discerning, intelligent, and so on," - that is an idea I can live with! :-)


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