Tuesday 26th August 2014 Week 166 Croatia
Nothing quite reminds you of your singleness than washing up. One plate, one cup, one bowl, one sad egg cup, washing up can be an emotional time. Which is why I washed up only when I needed to. i.e when there was nothing left to eat with. Far from being lazy this was time saving, cost efficient and most importantly environmentally friendly. I'm all for the planet. People who wash up every five minutes should feel guilty in my book. I discovered that in the battle to remove really yucky foods, particularly burnt on custard, from pots and pans: if you just added a little water, popped the lid back on and left it over night it would rinse away under the tap in the morning -This titbit Hazel has adopted-
When it came to cleaning I used time proven methods. People would look under my sink and ask: 'where’s all your cleaning stuf?'. The fools didn’t realise they were looking at them. A bottle of white Vinegar, Soda, bleach and nail varnish remover. Armed with these everyday items there was no stain too deep, no spot too spotty, no grime too grimy, -I could go on in this vain but I won't- I couldn't remove. My daughter, as we speak, is amassing a business empire built on this very ethos.
Delicious....! It's erm.....a rice and broccoli crumble? with chicken. Maybe. I think.
This cavalier and yet sagacious attitude to domesticity also spread to what I ate. Sure I'd start off with good intentions. Making sure my meals contained at least three of my five a day. Making proper gravy etc but then, after a few months, it would all go south. I'd end up eating weird stuff. Well not some much weird foods as weird combinations. A three course meal might typically consist of:
Starters, A tin of soup
Main, and a tin of ravioli
Dessert. a tin of custard
Sometimes, when I couldn't be arsed to go to all the bother of opening tins and heating stuff up, I'd fall back on corn flakes and toast. I think five bowls was my record. And all this, what ever it was, I'd eat while playing Halo on my Xbox. This, at 44. I'd seriously regressed.
Then they were the times I'd not shopped. So it was a scavenger hunt. Whatever I could find in the cupboard. Pot-luck dinning. A meal might consist of a tin of sardines, -which I always seemed to have but could never remember buying- a tin of plum tomatoes and for pudding a tin of custard. I was only stuck for something to eat when the butterfly handle broke off the opener. Occasionally I'd treat myself to a TV dinner, but even then I couldn’t be arsed, I'd suck it frozen......... (Not really, but an amusing image)
Obviously when I was courting a lady I'd get my shite together. Set my store out. Show off my domestic and culinary skills. Eleven years ago last Saturday I married Hazel. When she'd visited my flat I'd have something exotic cooking on the stove; something from Marks & Spencer snooty range. The flat would be spotless. The bed would be made. High brow magazines were strategically placed around the lounge. A book of old English poetry on the coffee table, my guitar and music stand in the corner, a sensible and non smutty screen saver. God!.........I knew now to impress a girl back then.
Which now makes me wonder if after eleven years, she feels she's been a tad short-changed...............?. Nah!......... I'm sure she doesn't.
Monday 25th August 2014 week 166 Croatia
Single life. Part one:
On Saturday Hazel flew back to the UK on family matters, she'll return later this week. So for the next few days I'll have to fend for myself. Shouldn't be too hard, think I know where she keeps stuff.
I've kinda got out of the habit of fending for myself, I was quite good at it once. Between my, too many marriages, I had bouts of singleness and during these periods I became quite domesticated...... Before I go on, I should make it clear that when I say: 'I was quite good at it once,' that's using the masculine scale of domesticity not the female one. The two, are vastly different as any bloke reading this will attest too, as is our respective domestic standards. It's no ones fault, we're just wired differently. Our fates were sealed and the die was cast when Ugg, dragged a women back to his cave by her hair roots and proudly uttered 'Eeerrr'. She stood up, dusted herself off, looked around and asked: 'haven't you heard of a broom? To which he replied, slightly mystified, Urgh! Since then our respective domestic paths haven't taken quite the same route.
Sibenik market this morning - full of colour and life
In my in-between pre-married state I could do stuff. Manage the flat or house I was renting reasonable well. Cook, tidy and clean. Wash my clothes, make my bed....... Okay, maybe not make my bed. Never could quite see the point of it, still don’t. I'd climb out of it in the morning, shut the bedroom door and that would be it till bedtime. It was slovenliness really, I know. I mean, I had a duvet. It only needed to be flicked across the bed but even that seemed an unnecessary waste of effort. A made bed only looks good if you have to look at it, I never had too. A female co-worker once said to me, on arriving late for work, 'Gosh! I had to dash out without making the bed this morning!'. It was a confession, almost as if she'd committed a crime. For all of four seconds I was tinged with guilt. But it passed.
Don't get me wrong, I'd always start off with good intentions like making my bed daily but then my male logic started asking me: 'why are you bothering Phil?'. And that’s men all over. We need a sound logical reason to do something and having something look nice or, god forbid, look pretty just ain’t enough.
Being male I'd invent, some who say, fairly ridiculous short-cuts to household chores. Take hoovering. Like many hooverists I'd spend five minutes trying to suck up a paper-clip, a paper-clip which I could have easily bent down and picked up, but I didn't. Why should I? I've a hoover for that. So I'd stubbornly run it back and forth sixteen times till eventually it disappeared and I could move on victorious. During a moment of genius, or a moment of utter boredom brought on by not having a girlfriend, you decide, I stuck a magnetic strips to the head of the hoover and hey presto! it cut my hoovering time in half. Another, ironing. Who needs to iron? People who spin their clothes that's who. Don't spin!. Hang them wet, and once dry in a warm room, creases fall out. Hazel irons everything, even my pants! I have pants with creases, deliberate creases. I developed a raft of short cuts...
I can see I'm going to ramble on for a bit here so I should finish off tomorrow. Besides with no editor I have to double, double check all the above.
Perhaps I should apologise now?