Friday, 14 May 2021

Hair Cut!

 My father looked like a mad scientist. He had big glasses, a pronounced widow's peak, and a shock of crazy white hair brushed backwards. To be fair he also worked in a laboratory at the polytechnic, would sometimes wear a lab coat, and did exciting experiments and demonstrations.

For the last 20-something years I have worn my hair close cropped. It's a style which my barber supported because it hides how much of my hair is grey, and she knows how unskilled and careless I am when it comes to personal grooming. Over the course of three national lockdowns my hair has grown to the point that I had to comb it back to keep it out of my eyes. It was very messy, but the style (very similar to my father's) actually seemed to suit me.

I was nervous to try to explain to my barber that I didn't want her to cut all my hair off, and that I actually wished to embrace the "crazy professor" look. It was unnecessary. When she eventually recognised me she said "Ha! You look like Doc Brown... It suits you". And all I had to say way "just neaten it up".

Richard "Where we're going we don't need roads" B


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Driving Test

 When I was preparing for my driving test my brother helped me with my knowledge of the highway code. I remember him asking me the meaning of various road signs. We didn't have flash cards so he would describe the road signs to me and ask me what they meant. To this day I particularly remember two of these questions, the first for the beautiful description of the road sign, the second for how useful the information is.

"Red triangle..."
"it's a hazard I have to be aware of"
"...containing an upside down tuning fork"
"What?... tuning fork?.... End of dual carriageway!"

"Displayed on the back of a car. Outline of a fish."
"I don't know."
"It means the vehicle will be slowly and inexpertly driven."

Richard "Passed 2nd Time" B


Wednesday, 28 April 2021

It's Like Rain...

 It is traditional that when you have a flat tyre in your car, that it be raining, that you're somewhere inconvenient and have somewhere else to be, that you're wearing clean clothes, and that the boot is absolutely full of luggage that has to be piled in the street before you can get to the spare wheel.

Last week I had a flat tyre in my boring estate car. It's a heavy car to jack with the crappy scissor jack, It's only got a space-saver spare tyre and that was half flat, and not one of the miserable bastards who drove past stopped to help.

[raining] it wasn't raining, but there was sand and sheep shit everywhere to spoil my cargo.

[somewhere inconvenient] I was in the middle of Dartmoor.

[have somewhere else to be] I was eager to get home because I had a friend coming round to visit.

[you're wearing clean clothes] I had had a haircut that same afternoon. I really fancy my barber so I always try to look as little like a vagrant as I can when I visit her. I was wearing my best and cleanest combination of casual clothes, but I did have some workshop gloves with me.

[the boot is absolutely full of luggage]. Irony of ironies - I was on my way home from a tyre garage! In the boot I had 4 wheels with tyres fitted and another 2 spare tyres. None of which fitted my estate car.

Richard "Somebody Call Alanis Morisette" B


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Do you know who I am?

 My mother is elderly, forgetful and easily confused. Last week she got a phone call from her friend Margaret to say that her husband had died. This week she got a call from (a different) Margaret to thank her for the bereavement card, but to let her know that her husband was in fact alive and well!

Richard "Wrong Peggy" B


Wednesday, 14 April 2021

It's Dead Jim

 A couple of years ago I killed a deer with a heavy motorbike. It was an accident and it was pretty frightening and upsetting (even more so for the deer than for me) but one of my friends can still find it funny from one particular point of view.

It was dark and raining. I was approaching a roundabout in the left lane of a dual carriageway. In a parking place on the left there were a few cars, parked badly, flashing their hazard lights and there were a people milling around. I didn't know what they were looking at or what they were doing, but I felt the effect of a strong "somebody else's problem" field. I thought "whatever that is I'll give it a wide berth". I changed lanes to the right and then instantly hit the deer which was sitting bloody and crumpled in the road.

My friend likes the story of the person who accidentally hit a deer with their car but didn't kill it, standing distressed in the rain wondering what to do. Along comes a motorbike which swerves towards it, finishes it off and doesn't even stop. When I had regained the balance and control of the bike I had already joined the roundabout and I was swept away by the flow of traffic.

Richard "Venison" B


Monday, 12 April 2021

Easter Eggs

 This Easter I did a lot of technical cooking. Nobody gave me a chocolate egg, but I am being given a lot of hens eggs, so I decided I would like to be able to make an old fashioned egg custard. The temperatures, timings and techniques are quite critical but I'm happy with what I can now produce. Sadly the recipe I'm experimenting with is for Crème Caramel so I also need to be able to make caramel. The caramel is even more sensitive than the custard. You only need to make the slightest mistake and it's too pale, too dark, too runny, stuck in the pan, burned, or crystalized. At the moment I can make a pretty good Crème Suspension of Sugar Precipitate.

Richard "Happy Zombie Jesus Day!" B