Barbecues

Barbecue
Looks civilised

It’s barbecue weather. Or so it seems.

During the winter, the air in Norton smells richly of burning coal, wood and melting plastic.
During the summer months, this is replaced with a heady miasma of charcoal, burnt meat and slurry, although recently this has been added to by the arrival of a fish and chip shop in the village and its associated pongs. The neighbours gather with their families and friends and burn meat to add a crunchy flavoursome crust. Then dine on said items accompanied by trendy salads and fine wines.

Meanwhile, in Gnomepants Cottage, the food remains cooked on the stove or in the oven as the once faithful barbecue was consigned to the council tip some time during the last great move.

Barbecue Barbies
This never happens

Hosting garden parties and barbecues became a thing of the past once the realisation that standing over burning coals while sausages singed was no longer fun but a chore. The realisation that watching guests get tipsy and sated on cremated burgers and battling wasps while the chefs food got even more scorched and grew colder was no fun for the chef.

I was often the chef.

More often than not, the food would be cold, the guests would be leaving and I’d be left with a mountain of soggy salad even though I’d resolved not to make so much in the first place.

Not fun.

Resolution was that no further barbecues would be hosted and that they would solely be attended upon invitation.

This Sunday in Norton was a glorious day. Neighbours fired up their barbecues and began their annual ritual of eating calcined meat goods. The air became thick with smog but few invitations arrived. But no matter.

Fire!
This is what usually happens

It was then that I realised, trend setter that I am, I had set an example amongst my friends. A fashion that no more would they hold barbecues and invite people while the hosts cooked and slaved over burning cinders only to dine themselves later on cold undercooked foodstuffs. This explains why we didn’t get any invites to barbecues from friends. That, and living out in the sticks, miles from friends and family.
So next time you’re enjoying the British summer, sitting in the garden inhaling burnt meat pollution, and have the urge to fire up the old barbecue, invite some chums and have a crap dinner while your friends enjoy the fruits of your labours, remember they didn’t invite you to theirs. Why? Because no fool wants to eat cold sausages and mountains of salad. They want their food cooked, hot and served to them by gracious hosts. They don’t have barbecues. Instead, they are sensible and have their dinner parties indoors.

Curiously I don’t get invites to them either….

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People on the bus – Making the world a better place – Part two

So I’m driving home from work and I’m listening to the wireless and the Home service Radio 4.

People on the bus
Nobody talking

The programme being broadcast was about a newspaper editor from Zimbabwe and how he is adapting to life as an asylum seeker in the UK. One of the main differences, he pointed out, between Harare and the UK was how people didn’t seem to talk to each other on public transport.

Now surprisingly, this guy lives in Leeds which is a good deal away from London where I believe such practices as ignoring ones fellow passengers is common place. It kind of shocked me and my Northern mind set because I’d always thought of the south as being a bit….well you know….”insular” when it comes to talking to complete strangers. Indeed, I’m quite happy to sit there with my earphones in (sometimes without anything attached at the other end) to avoid the weirdo on the bus or being assailed by some elderly person wanting to tell me about their gout.

And that got me thinking.

Sometimes I don’t mind talking to complete strangers on the bus or in the pub or where ever. Sometimes it’s nice to get chatting about things. Why don’t we do it more often? What stops us? Fear of a stabbing? Fear of being converted into some mind numbed zombie from a Nigel Kneale story? Wasps?

I think the main reason for our inherent phobia of talking to people on public transport is fear of extreme views. Nobody likes to be trapped by someone spouting vitriolic hate or outlandish views. A case in point could be the time when Jim and I went to the Brewery Tap at the Cains Brewery in Liverpool.

We  got chatting to a seemingly jovial chap at the bar. He seemed ok, typical of the populace of the city. Friendly banter, John Lennon anecdotes, Billy Butleresque memories. However, the chat swiftly switched from idle scouse chit chatty banter to a strong antisemitic nationalist rant where one would have expected the gentleman to start waving his arm about a la Hitler at the Nuremberg Rally.

Then another case in point is the guy who once cornered me on the 78 and started talking about how the government controls the populace through the covert use of prescription medication.

Nutters.

So yeah, I can understand that people don’t really want to talk to each other on the bus for those reasons in illustration. But surely not everyone is like that. It seems people’s first reaction to someone talking to them on the bus or train or in the pub is one of suspicion and distrust.

This is my bus
This is my bus

Who is this weird person? How dare they talk to me? Are they going to knife me? Might they not try to  bum me? Or maybe stick me in a dark cellar where I will be forced to eat marmite and parsnips until the day I die?

I know I’m not likely to force anyone into eating parsnips or marmite. I don’t even have a cellar. I suppose that coupled with the fear of being attacked by marmite wielding weirdos comes the fear that they themselves would be labelled a weirdo. Fear, as they say in Dune, is the mind killer.

Then I thought, what is needed is a kind of badge system. Like say a green badge for “I’m happy to talk to anyone” and a red badge for “Fuck off weirdo”. So those with green badges can sit and yatter away to their hearts content and the red badge wearers can scowl and frown and listen to their music or whatever without interruption. It could even be a registered thing so that should you like talking to someone then you take down the number on the badge and look them up on the internet when you get home or what ever.

There could also be a voting system like say badge wearer #473083 is very interesting and like prawns so people who like to talk about prawns (there are a lot of people that do) can look out for #473083 on their travels. Furthermore, one might get talking to #23932 and find out they are one of those religious zealot types that want to turn everything into some discussion about Jesus or whatever. You know, like :-

Person #48909823 – “So do you like tea?”
Person #23932 – “I do. In fact in the book of Ba’at chapter 30 it says ‘And the lord didst partake in tea and verily there was much rejoicing’. I like tea almost as much as I like Jesus. Jesus can be your friend. Oh yes he can. Do you know Jesus? He is your friend. He is you know.”

So the person #48909823 could go and say person #23932 likes to turn everything you talk about into something about Jesus and then people who prefer to talk about Jesus all the time can talk happily to #23932 while those that don’t can talk to whoever else.

What do you think?

Of course such a scheme would require some more thinking out. But I reckon it would work well. Especially with the technology of the day.

This is, of course a giant leap to make in a society which we need to make happier and better. I suppose we can make a start by chatting, at least once a day, to a complete stranger. Just be nice. Don’t say anything controversial or boring. Just something brief, engaging and relevant to your situation. Say it with a smile rather than a frown. Or perhaps just say “Hey, Do you know Stegzy Gnomepants? He writes on the intarwebz”

Next time I will tell you more about how we can make the world a better place.

 

Making the world a better place – Part one

Love you Jim xx
Bloody hippy!

Bloody hippies. Sitting there in their kaftans with their long hair and beards, weaving yogurts and floating vaginas. Why can’t they be pissed off and angry like everyone else.

Yes. Why not? I mean its such a lovely world isn’t it. People hating each other, blaming each other, being nasty to each other and complaining about anything to anybody who will listen and then complaining further when people don’t listen.

We have just had elections. Elections where every person who is angry with the current state of affairs in Europe and the UK took out their frustrations on the government by either not voting or by voting for far right loons. Great job! I’m sure we’ll laugh about it when jackbooted fucktards come a knocking to evict us from our homes for none compliance.

 

empty vessels
Some noisy things

Of course there is a saying. Empty vessels make the most noise. Indeed,  this saying when applied to the current political landscape seems to ring true. Furthermore, this saying applies across all aspects of society. Just look at any newspaper (or news website) and you’ll read about how bad things are. How people in power are horrid. How people who do things do things selfishly or for the rubbing of their own ego, gain and gratification.

But what’s the one thing you don’t read about?

Nice people.

People doing good things.

Years ago, and I think I’ve already written about this before, people with lots and lots of money would look about and say:

“Fuck me, I have so much money from building railways/transporting slaves/eating jam <delete as applicable> I don’t know what to do with it!”

Then, armed with wads of cash they would do good things like building churches, hospitals, libraries, club houses or starting mutual societies and cooperatives. Benevolence. Generosity. All for eternal recognition.

 

This was actually built in memory of some bloke who died during a fox hunt.
A monument

In the UK at least, one only has to take a trip into their nearest town and find monuments to people who have donated or sacrificed something for the benefit of others. Did people moan about that then I wonder? Did the newspapers of the time bemoan the fact that some great benefactor donated land for use as a municipal park? Did people tut and mutter about it? Surely that land would be better used as a factory? Maybe? Who knows? I can’t be arsed to do the research but I imagine it wasn’t like that.

These days, being nasty gets you fame. Being awful and frightful gets you instant celebrity status, or so it seems. To me it seems that being awful and frightful is de rigueur . Think about it, companies don’t have compliments departments do they? Why is this? It is because there is more benefit in providing a shit service and employing people who spend all their day depleting their self-worth levels by listening to people blame them personally for the lack of service or whatever. I know, I used to be one of those employees.

So how can we turn the world into a better place? How can I get people to be nicer to each other? How can I get recognition for good deeds done to humanity?

 

You’ll just have to come back later and read all about it.

Weekend

Didn’t I have a lovely time the day I went to Brighton? Ho yes! It was lovely to see zoefruitcake who whisked me off to all sorts of amazing places. On Saturday I watched her abseil down the Baker tower of Arundel Castle. All 180 ft of the fucker. She’s a braver girl than me.
Got to have a look round the farmers market in Arundel and had a look round Chichester too. All that walking wore me out. Even so I also got to look round Selsey Bill, which was very nice and picturesque. Then a whistle stop tour of Bosham before lunch at a haunted inn called the Royal Oak in Langstone.

An exhausting weekend but fun none the less. In fact I was a bit sad at going home this morning because I’d had such a fantastic weekend but my sadness was soon washed away when I realised I’d booked a FIRST CLASS ticket back 😀 Free tea! Free Newspaper, bags of leg space and comfort all the way home! 😀

Bonus.

Here lies some video footage and some pictures

Iggy pop

Sat to my left are a young couple. They are billing and cooing like a bunch of teenagers. They’re supposed to be working. This is a library not behind the fucking bikesheds. He’s talking in that fucking irritating cute voice and she is clinging to him like some fucking human limpet. I’ve seen them about Uni. He talks on her behalf and she just looks sheepish and docile. I bet they’re members of some weird cult.

Yesterday I was trying to get down the Lane with no name. That irritating ignorant fuck next door but one (the aka Good Life) was trimming his hedge. Mr Goodlife, you may recall, is married to a woman that looks like that woman from the eighties BBC drama Life and Loves of a She-Devil. They give the impression that they live self sufficiently and seem to think they own the fucking Lane with No name.

They don’t.

It is communal which means it is shared ownership.

As well as that they were the only people on the row of houses we live on to not come and say hello when we moved in. Anyway, his step ladder (I say step ladder it was more like a stool) was slightly blocking the lane. Now any normal person on seeing a car trying to get past would get out of the way until the car had passed. Not fuckwit. No. He just acted as though I wasn’t there. Ignorant fuck. Instead I had to turn the car round and risk the wrath of Mr Pritchard (next door but one the other way) and go through his gate. As I turned I noticed Mr Good Life topple over onto his front into a bank of nettles. Serves the fucker right.

I told G the Human Dog this morning who added that he had also had run ins with Mr Goodlife blocking the lane with no name when G had been trying to get by.

“Next time ‘e does it ‘am gunna jus leave me car behind his see how he fucking likes it”

I added that G should get me and I’ll move my car into the lane too so Goodlife won’t be able to get past.

I’m sure Mrs Gnomepants wouldn’t approve though.

Rhubarb

On 17th February 2006 I commented on a journal entry.

Within hours the owner of the journal entry added me. Since then, the journal owner and I have become really good online mates (much akin to Benny but I’ve not met Benny yet). Last night, nearly 2 years after that first comment, I met the delightfully ace cujosmurf for the first time. 😀

And what a fantastic person they are! We drank, smoked, ate cake (her own made coffee and walnut cake), watched Torchwood and talked all manner of bollocks, LJ and interesting subjects. We seem to share similar film, food opinions and music tastes (which in itself is a rare thing). Sometimes, you meet someone and you just click like —->**click**<—- just like that. Like you’ve known them for ages. Well cujosmurf is one of those people.

Cujosmurf

Anyways, today not only was I able to pilfer from her a bucket containing a sizeable crown of rhubarb (which tried to escape and roam around the boot of the Ford Fiasco) but I was treated to a scrummy yummy full English Breakfast containing BLACK PUDDING! :D:D:D:D:D:D AND haggis (Though I wasnt too keen on haggis) in possibly one of the finest delis I’ve ever been in.

Now I’m going to have a bath, order a pizza and veg out in front of the TV 😀

Weekend

Too long off makes badger a lazy, overweight and unhealthy slob.

I need to get my Academic/creative teeth into something. Tomorrow I’m going into college to edit my film (it’s not finished filming yet and I don’t think it will be).

Today Mrs Gnomepants and I looked at bathrooms (this is the second time we have done this). I would like a bath and a free standing shower with the wash basin moved to the North wall and the toilet moved 3 ft from where it is now to allow access to the potential shower. Mrs Gnomepants wants a free standing 30’s style bath with over head shower and ornate wash basin and a toilet with one of those cisterns that are like 5 ft above the bowl. Like what my nan had. Not that you’ll know what my nan had but it was like what the wife wants in our new bathroom. We cannot agree. Compromises fall to whims. My resolve has been broken and now I don’t care how the bathroom looks. Of course I now get accused of not taking an interest in house matters. Yet it appears my opinion has the monetary value of a 1p off soap coupon (0.000001p). I learnt long ago men cannot win so why bother disagreeing.

Yesterday we had a visit from my olds. They brought us their old telly which is slightly better than our old one if a little smaller. My afternoon is but a drinky fuzz. My night, awash with weird dreams about batteries and ham.

Friday I went into work for 3.5 hours. I got told for every 9 hours I work I get 1 hour leave. Fucking A.

I’m rapidly sinking into don’t give a shit mode. My body is telling me to stop being abusive and my mind is saying “Maybe join a gym or something”. At £25 a month avg I doubt that is going to happen. Brierley/Grimethorpe “TOWN” council opened a “Community Gym” last year. Guess what? I can find nothing about it online. No joining information/opening times/facility information. Something smells in Brierley. I think it is Alec Vodden.

The more I hear and read about Vodden the more my distrust of him grows, he had definately watchout at the next local elections…

Partea

Friday evening was a relaxed affair. Apart from accosting a local scally for being a cheeky little fucker that deserves his head mashing into a strange red and pink pulp then having said pulp forced into their rectum, the evening was quiet. Enjoying the absence of Mrs Gnomepants I watched Die Hard 2 on ITV2 and then played GTA:SA until 3am.

Saturday morning. I was awoken with a start by a strange man in a blue uniform ringing my door bell. Imagine my shock and surprise when the man revealed himself to be a postal worker! (In case you didn’t know the post office have been on strike in the UK recently) Before I was able to beat him to a pulp with a rolling pin he handed me a parcel for Mrs Gnomepants who was celebrating her birthday. Mrs G was in Belfast though, and it would be a goodly while before she was back at home.

So I then set about creating cakes. I baked a chocolate cake, a ginger cake and a Banofee PIE! It later transpired that other people were bringing sweet dishes too. Mrs Gnomepants’ mother brought a chocolate trifle and Jill the wife’s-former-bosses-former-former-wife brought a pavlova. 🙂 But that was yet to occur. For my kitchen resembled something like Ready Steady Cook as I had to rush out to pick up Emma-formerly-Emma-in-Brighton-Now-Emma-in-Birmingham from Barnsley-Interchange-formerly-Barnsley-Station.

The evening progressed, cake and sausage were eaten, beer was drunk and jimrock arrived. Whereupon we headed out to The Three Horseshoes for more drink before heading home and to bed like good thirty-somethings.

After a Sunday breakfast of bacon, sausage, toast, mushrooms, tomatoes & beans and a parting of the ways , Mrs Gnomepants took Emma on a tour of the Sculpture Park while I stayed at home and played GTA:SA tidied up the mess.

ION – The back room is now 98% complete. I have pictures. I haven’t uploaded them yet.
– I have some uni work that needs doing.
– I have a cup of tea.