Monday, 6 December 2021

Morrisons 2

 Something else that amused me happened in the Morrisons supermarket. I was trying to buy pudding rice and I knew from their website that they sold it. I looked for it with the rice – it wasn't there. I looked for it with cake ingredients – it wasn't there. I found boudoir biscuits and ice-cream cones, but didn't see the pudding rice. I eventually asked a member of staff and he looked it up on a PDA. "short grain pudding rice?" he asked. "Yes, that's what I'm after". "That's a type of custard" he told me. Now I don't think it is, but when he lead me to custard we did find what I was looking for.

Richard "Failed Successfully" B

Morrisons 1

 I was at a Morrisons supermarket on Saturday. Amongst my small basket of shopping was a bottle of Champaign which had a security tag around its neck. The attendant assured me that I could use the self service checkout and that she would remove the security tag once I had paid. Morrisons was crowded, the queues were long and slow and everyone seemed to be in a bad mood. I found myself standing in uffish thought by the cigarette kiosk waiting for the security tag to be removed. A fellow shopper seemingly thought I was trying to jump the queue or that I was in the way and angrily told me "THE QUEUE STARTS UP THERE - LOVE". The timing of what happened next was perfect and made the shopper even angrier. Before I could apologise or explain what I was doing one of the employees appeared, handed my a bottle of champaign, politely wished me well, and then walked back to serve Mrs Angry.

Richard "Special Treatment" B

Monday, 22 November 2021

Book Review - Dune

 I enjoyed Dune so much at the cinema that I went back and re-read the book. It was written in the 60's and I last read it in the 90's.

My view on it hasn't really changed – it's a wonderful science fiction book hiding inside an overlong and pretentious one. The story and the characters are great. The world which the author has built is interesting and believable and the way that he introduces it to you is very compelling. By the end  of the book it's a real page-turner. The problem is that there are just so many words. We have conversations where we're told what every character is thinking about every word which is said. He makes up words when perfectly normal ones would do. He makes up proper nouns for things on the planet but gives you no clue whether you have to commit them to memory or just let them wash over you. He uses difficult words when easy ones would do. He puts hundreds of words of metaphor and allusion in front of you rather than just explaining what's going on. Even though I loved it, it felt like a chore to read.

Richard "Damn You Frank Herbert" B

Heavy Weather Shopping

 A couple of weeks ago I got caught in a rain storm. I had stopped at a supermarket and the rain became ridiculously heavy while I was inside. Most people didn't dare venture back out into the carpark but I was pretty much dressed correctly for it as I had on my wet weather motorcycling gear. I put on my crash helmet (it is amongst other things a waterproof hat) before I left the shelter of the shop. The thing was that the rain and wind were so oppressive that I had to put my visor down just to be able to walk across the car park to my bike.

The leather of my jacket is waterproof, but the pockets weren't properly closed (they were filled with items from the shop). When I got home the pockets had about half a pint of rain water in each of them and I had to turn the jacket upside-down to empty them.

Richard "talk about the weather" B

Tuesday, 2 November 2021


 This weekend I attended a wedding. I'm almost exactly the same age as the groom and the bride is a few years his junior. The reception took place in a holiday cottage and professional caterers fed us and ran a bar. I was talking awkwardly with the woman running the bar as I had to get something on her side of it. She asked me if I was the father of the bride. To start with I thought this was either insulting to how old I looked, or flattering to how important and distinguished I looked in a suit. Obviously she was really telling me how young the bride looked in her finery.

Richard "witness" B

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

The Whole Shooting Match

 I was today years old when I found out that the phrase "lock, stock and barrel" makes perfect sense. I already knew that the stock is the wooden part of a gun. What I didn't know is that in the days of matchlock and flintlock guns, the "lock" is the part of the gun with the hammer, ignition system and priming charge. If you took apart your flintlock (or matchlock) musket (or pistol) there would be three parts: The lock, the stock and the barrel.

In my head it now joins the list of phrases that come from ancient firearms technology like "keep your powder dry", "go off half cocked" and "flash in the pan".

I'm ashamed to admit that I had made up a kind of rationalisation in my mind for the phrase. I thought it was probably something to do with everything you owned in a warehouse: The (pad) lock off the front door, the stock you kept in the warehouse, and the empty barrel(s) you used to store liquids. Wrong!

The phrase wouldn't have the same poetry if it was coined in the day of self-loading rifles: "I emptied my garage fire control group, magazine, bolt carrier assembly, receiver, stock and barrel.

Richard "eggcorn" B