Monday, 27 February 2012

Using bread as toilet roll, death chickens and the Oscars.

Spurred on by finding a reduced loaf of bread in Wilkinsons, I made a bread pudding over the weekend. The 800g loaf was originally £1.20 (surely a misprice), but had been reduced to 30p when I spotted it on Saturday.
Ideally, you need stale bread for bread pudding and despite the bread having reached it's 'use by' date, it was still very soft and damp. I have a breadmaker and tend make my own bricks bread, so I'm not used to quite how soft and velvety commercial bread has become. The slices of bread reminded me of pieces of high end, quilted toilet roll. Should you be stuck without any toilet roll, but lots of sliced white, I reckon it would make a decent might block up the toilet though. Equally, should you be out of bread, but have lots of posh bog roll....just don't put it in the toaster.
By comparison, I wouldn't go anywhere near the jacksy area with a piece of my homemade bread as I reckon it would trigger a rectal prolapse, resulting in a right old mess and a deeply embarrassing trip to A&E.

Anyway, summoning all my strength, I ripped the whole loaf up, crusts and all, and mixed it with milk, strong tea, 4 eggs, sugar, marmalade, syrup, raisins, sweet mixed spices and butter. When it looked all porridgy I put it in a dish and baked it for a couple of hours.
Obviously, I don't have the oven on unless it's full, so in went a reduced chicken that I found in Morrisons on Friday (should've been eaten on Friday according to the label, but was still fine on Saturday), some parsnips and carrots and a pan of parboiled potatoes, for roasting.
The chicken was reduced to £2 from around £5, and came with pork stuffing.
Some may think that I am dicing with death cooking a chicken with pork stuffing, a day over its 'use by' date. I am here to reassure you that all is well. I am not one of these people blessed with a 'cast iron' stomach, nor am I one of life's risk takers. I just use common sense.

When I got the chicken home on Friday I unwrapped it and smelt it. It smelt perfectly fresh. I took the calculated risk that come 12.01am on Saturday, it would not suddenly become a green, stench ridden, slimy mess, and, surprise, surprise, I was right. It still smelt and looked fine prior to being roasted on Saturday afternoon, and tasted very good, accompanied by the roast potatoes.

While preparing Sunday lunch, I used the remaining chicken and a can of chickpeas to make a quick curry, which will feed Dave until Wednesday morning (he works nights and so eats his dinner at 8.30am when working). I boiled up the carcass in the microwave and the resulting meat and stock will form the basis of a couple of dinners for the dogs.
I then fashioned a necklace out of the bones........just joking. Not bad for two quid though, even without the necklace.
6lb of bread pudding.

Usain Bolt has a whole one for breakfast every morning.
The Oscars were held yesterday and it looked like a very posh do. Rather bizarrely I found myself worrying about what I would wear if I received an invite. This is like me worrying about the effect of zero gravity on my bowels, should I be head-hunted by NASA...which isn't as unlikely as it sounds, once they hear that I'm between jobs. I'm quite fit, have low blood pressure, like science and I am fairly good at maths. Perfect Astronaut material. I think I'll send them a CV.

Watching the Oscar coverage, I was amazed at how ugly and uncomfortable a lot of the dresses looked.  I only have one dress, which I bought for a wedding about 10 years ago, then wore again to another wedding about 9 years ago, then I wore it again to another wedding about 8 years ago. I haven't worn it since, as the wedding invitations have dried up.
I really don't get fashion, and I certainly don't get dresses.

Thinking about it, I don't get a lot of female stuff, like false nails, long real nails (yuck), nail 'art'(it always looks shite), posh pants, handbags, baths, breeding, chocolate, 'pampering', cake, 'girl's nights in/out', high heels and tattoos.  

Dave reckons I have a man's brain. I reckon he has the brain of a Big Girl. That makes us both homosexuals. Go figure.

Talking of big girls, I may need a bigger pair of jeans soon as I have just had an e mail letting me know that I have won twelve one litre tubs of ice cream and twelve 150g bags of crisps. So that's almost 2kg of crisps, which are one of my favourite things to eat, and I'm not averse to a bit of ice cream either.
Now where's my elasticated waisters...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Sexerous Kermit eggs stuffed with goldfish.

Olives, schmolives.

I quite like like them, in fact I like them a lot, especially the green ones. Dave's still out with the jury, having a smoke round the back and Facebooking the accused.
But I have found a good source of cheap green olives in the unlikely guise of The 99p Store.
They happen to be stuffed with pimiento. I have no idea why, but it makes them look rather eye catching. I think that the olive processors are missing a trick though. They should claim that they are in fact Kermit eggs stuffed with goldfish, as it buys into the current wave of Muppet mania and makes them sound sexy, exotic and dangerous, all at the same time. Sexerous.

Those olive people seem to have a penchant for stuffing. I've seen almonds, garlic and even cheese stuffed olives. Here's my list of recession inspired alternative olive stuffings, and suggestions of what you can tell your guests that they are stuffed with, if they happen to be rude enough to ask. You can enlighten them on their way out.

Fish paste or cat food (anchovies)
Conkers (Macadamia nuts)
Grass cuttings (spinach)
Lard (Andalusian Mare's cheese)
Homebrined ants (caviar)
Compost (black truffle)
Webbox Chub dog food (fois gras)
Wasps (wasps)
Hair of a ginger person (saffron)

And the beauty of it is that although I'm unemployed, and can't run to fancy olives, I have all the time in the world to sit around, brining ants and stuffing cheap olives with dog food. I think they call it 'time rich, money poor'.

While looking at olives in The 99p Store I noticed that they now have a chiller cabinet, containing the likes of cheese, bacon, black pudding and fresh vegetables. I don't think that there's much call for fresh veg in our local as it's usually 'reduced for quick sale'. Also, the veg doesn't seem particularly good value as you only get a couple of hundred grams for your 99p, whereas elsewhere in the shop 99p buys a bin sack full of Cheesey Skeezers.
What with obesity and everything, I know that the government are looking at putting some type of 'tax' on junk food.
A better idea would be to subsidise fresh, unprocessed foods instead - you know Cameron, like the bars are subsidised at Westminster.
Scottish MP Eric Joyce is no doubt regretting Wednesday's nutting spree, triggered by taxpayer subsidised Top Totty, too many Scampi Fries and Scotland's ban on alcohol multi-buy deals....

Anyway, last week Morrisons had really cheap carrots, apples, pears, and cabbage, to name but a few. The apples were 30p for four and despite being Braeburns, they were flavoursome and crisp. The problem is that this was a short term special offer and you normally pay at least three times that amount. With so-called junk foods being well advertised and usually on some kind of promotion, I can see why some people on a budget opt for the processed, easy to cook, tasty stuff rather than the pricier and a bit faffy, fresh stuff.

As I'm typing this 'Deal or No Deal' happens to be on and I cannot help noticing that Edmonds has had some work done on his wattle. It is no longer there. On Googling the subject it seems that it is being made into a giant yurt for Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall to live in whilst River Cottage is being rebuilt following the fire. He's a good egg.

Finally, if anyone has any experience of elderly, slightly senile whippets please can they answer this question. Why is Frank obsessed with licking the soft furnishings? He is slowly licking away the sofa. It will soon be a pouffe.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Shrove Tuesday shenanigans and syrup.

Before moving to Pembrokeshire, we used to live in a village called Warton which was close to a town called Atherstone. On Shrove Tuesday Atherstone holds the infamous Atherstone Ball Game. This 'game' is basically an opportunity to indulge in a bit of legitimised street brawling. It's a nice way to spend an afternoon, should you fancy a couple of hours beating the shit out of several hundred total strangers, while they try their hardest to reciprocate, all rounded off nicely by a few hours in casualty and several months of reconstructive dentistry.

The Atherstone shopkeepers spend the morning boarding up their windows and at 3pm someone famous throws the ball into the braying crowd, from a place of safety. George Formby, Ken Dodd and Larry Grayson have all done honours previously. Apparently Ken almost fell into the crowd when he did his stint in 1970. That would've been the last we heard of him.
'I say Missus, what a wonderful day for falling into a very small gene pool and being ripped limb from limb by the domey-headed, six fingered locals'. A late night set at the Glasgow Empire would have been a walk in the park by comparison.
This year's festivities are being 'kicked off' by celebrity goat herder Chico. Needless to say, 'Chico time' will be at three o'clock exactly.

Once the ball has been thrown, all hell lets loose. After a high spirited two hours the game is stopped and whoever has possession of the ball is declared the winner.
The winner generally has no teeth (and often had no teeth long before the game started), is good at gurning and likes heading bricks in his spare time.
They get to keep the ball, which is filled with pigs blood, weighs in at 14lb and is handmade from salted bullock tripes by the local kiddies.
I don't think that there has ever been a female winner, but if there was, she would be a formidable beast indeed.
The ABG has been going on for over 800 years and has never missed a year, continuing even during wars, foot and mouth and Albion Market.

Here in Pembrokeshire they don't seem to have the same blood lust, preferring to gather and eat gulls (which taste worse than toads), on Shrove Tuesday. It's dangerous, but in a different way.

But we can still have pancakes.
We like pancakes but I cannot be doing with all the repetitious faffing that goes with making them. I'm referring to standing at the hob, oiling, tilting, flipping and keeping warm while standing, oiling, tilting and flipping another one, and another one, and so it goes on. Added to this, Dave hates being fed bit by bit and becomes ratty if he is fed in the manner of 'a seal being thrown fish'.

I have suggested that he wait until I've finished cooking all the pancakes before eating them but in Dave's world if he see's food destined for him, he must eat it, now.
This explains his dislike of barbecues and his lamentable behaviour in the rare event that we are invited to one. It's simply not done to yell 'WHERE'S MY DINNER?' at the host, while pushing a fistful of sliced baps in his face.

So, working on the basis that pancakes and Yorkshire puddings are essentially the same, I've opted to make a  large Yorkshire pudding instead. I took 4oz of plain flour, 2 eggs, a pinch of salt and some milk, whisked it together and put it in the preheated Remoska until cooked, which was around 25 minutes.
Sunken and syrupy.
All in one go.

If you don't want to make your own you can buy a packet mix or even ready made pancakes, although they seem a bit extravagant to me. But then I think that not reusing your nose tissues as arse tissues is extravagant.
I see on My Supermarket that you can get a packet of Tesco Value pancake mix for 7p, which seems like a bargain, although I don't know what's in it or how it tastes. I reckon my homemade efforts cost around 40p and tastes as good as flour, eggs and milk gets.
I received a free sample of Maple syrup this week, but being a simple soul, I prefer Tate and Lyle's on my pancakes and bread. I know that there is cheaper syrup out there, and much as I love a bargain, some things are worth paying extra for. Other syrup simply doesn't taste as nice.

A word of warning for fellow syrup aficionados though. Avoid the 'squeezy' Tate and Lyle syrup in a bottle. I think that it has an unpleasant metallic flavour and it's thin consistency means that it falls off your bread at the drop of a hat, getting in your hair and making a right mess of your bodywarmer.

It's a syrupy minefield out there.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Eating frogs and toads.

Well, it must be Spring as I've seen the first toads and frogs of the year. Our village is overrun with them in the Spring because there is a lake nearby, where they go for sex. On my run this morning I helped two punters across the road. Dave, ever the cheeky wag, asked me how long it took me to catch them up.
I run slowly admittedly, but even I can outrun a frog. On a good day.

I looked up the Common Toad on the Internet and found out that they can live for up to 50 years, as can frogs. That'll be down to the fact that they shun motor transport and rarely drink, smoke or take drugs, like the Amish.

I also looked up toad recipes, but kept getting variations on 'toad in the hole' which got on my nerves after a while, as I know how to make that already.
I did find lots of frog recipes though, and some of them actually sound quite nice. Apparently, frog doesn't really taste of much and is usually described as a cross between chicken and fish. I like chicken and I like fish. As our American friends say 'It's all good'. Although perhaps not all, as it also has a slightly rubbery texture, but I can live with that, I just need to avoid the 50 year olds.

I was surprised to learn that the U.S. consume a lot of frogs, as well as Spain, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Mexico and the Caribbean. Obviously, they love a frog in France and they have frog festivals during which tons are consumed. In fact, frogs are so thin on the ground in France now that they are having to import them from Indonesia.

I didn't realise that there was such a prized source of free protein literally on our doorstep, in the shed and under the car.
What with the never ending and frankly, old hat, craze for 'foraging' and local food, I would've thought that Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and his ilk would have been frog munching for years. Hugh has done rooklets, umbrella's, placenta and even slugs, so a  bit of toad should be a walk in the park.

Even the supremely contrived Eurovision hopefuls and foraging boy band, The Three Hungry Boys  haven't jumped aboard the amphibibandwagon.
I can just see them trolling round the country in their milkfloat, bartering a days' heavy labour in return for a fresh, juicy toad apiece. Come dusk, they'd be sat round the campfire, **frying their toads up with an egg and happily chowing down, toad juice mingled with ketchup running down their chins whilst they indulge in a bit of good natured tomfoolery over who gets the last blow sac...
Apparently a sharp rap on the head is enough to see them off, and it works for frogs and toads too.
They seem quite easy to skin, although you must start at the head end otherwise it all gets a bit messy, plus their anal glands secrete the deadly Muskaric acid, which is best avoided, being as it's deadly.

And of course, I'd be doing mankind a favour by keeping the numbers down. They are a hugely destructive pest, having caused swathes of deforestation across Europe.
Frog damage.
Hereabouts we used to have acres of forest, but it's all gone now, along with the orangutans, having been destroyed by frogs and toads.
Classic frog damage.
Toad spraints.
So, for the sake of humanity (and hopefully to make a few quid with my Toad Quiche at Haverfordwest Farmers market), I'm going into frog hunting, complete with four, very rare and specially imported under licence, Cajun Froghounds.
Primed and ready to go.
The Toadinator
Watch out Kermit.

** When frying up a toad, with or without an egg, pierce and use a moderate heat as they are prone to exploding.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine's Day. Why?

It's Valentine's day and despite it's obscure origins, (something to do with early Christian martyrs), the world's gone mad again. Just like at Christmas, we're being bombarded by crap merchandise at every turn.

The main categories seem to be:
So called 'naughty' items, usually involving low grade confectionery, thrush inducing underwear and feathers.
Personalised naffery.

One of my favourites is the Cushion of Love which costs £59.99. Click on the link and you'll see what you get for your money...
I cannot believe that anyone would want that on their sofa and it's sixty quid.
But this may sway it.
"Our personalised heart cushions are great to touch and to cuddle".
Well that's alright then, here's the cash. Personally, I'd prefer a monkey but it would set the dogs off.

I'm with Charles Rennie Mackintosh when it comes to 'stuff'. To paraphrase him, you shouldn't give it houseroom unless it's useful or nice to look at.
Well this, and a lot of other Valentine's tat is the opposite. Useless and ugly, but nevertheless some people are quite happy to pay £60 for it because it's Valentine's day....

At risk of letting the side down, I blame women.

I can't imagine that many men would have a hissy fit if they didn't get a large jar of 'Big Boy' personalised lovehearts (£24.99), a card reading 'U Iz Fit', or a 'Ring for a Shag' bell, today.

But woe betide the man who doesn't lavish his partner with flowers, chocolates, a personalised 'Love Declaration Bear with Scroll' (£19.99), a Valentine 'Big Hug' balloon in a box (£23), a meal out and a portable pink stripper pole (reduced to £69.99. Can't think why...). Oh, and a card.

I don't remember Valentine's day being such a big deal in the past, and Halloween definitely wasn't.
Now we feel the need to 'celebrate' the slightest thing and I suspect that it's because we feel that we should, because it's rammed down our throats every time we go into a supermarket or switch on the telly.

The 15th of February is the feast day of St Sigfrid of Sweden, who died in 1045.
It's a brilliant marketing opportunity that is, as yet, untapped. All they need to do is raise the profile of St Sigfrid and make us believe that everyone, except us, is having a right old knees up.
The fancy dress options are abundant. I'm thinking Abba, vikings, Bjorn Borg, reindeer, Sven Goran Eriksson or the Swedish Chef off The Muppets, who incidentally, seem everywhere at the moment.

Not being a fan of Valentine's day, Dave has started the St Sigfrid's day celebrations early. 
The menu could consist of meat balls and herring, with lingonberries or those really nasty tasting sweets from Ikea for pudding, and Absolut vodka to drink. A bit of unrelenting marketing (try and get the kids on board) and Bingo-Bango, it's another day to celebrate while lining someone else's pockets.

I am in danger of sounding like a right misery here so I shall attempt to try and redeem myself slightly.
I admit that I got Dave a Valentine's day card and it falls into the 'personalised naffery' category.

It was free, from a company called Kukkle. It arrived promptly and is really good quality. I didn't even have to pay for the postage.

Happy St Sigfrid's day.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Impossible Job, food safety, celery and celebrity mouse deaths.

I know, I know, I haven't done a blog for a few days. It's all very 'hush, hush' but I've been going through a gruelling selection process. Firstly, I had to prove that I knew at least 100 words in English and I was then required to demonstrate an understanding of the phrases ' keep it tight', 'give it the Big Fella', 'knock it long' and 'post match roasting'.
After that I had to showcase my miming prowess by spending a strenuous hour doing speed 'Give Us a Clue'.

Finally, I had to write and deliver a two part PowerPoint presentation on:

'Spitting. A necessary evil?'

Followed up by:

'So much phlegm...too much dairy?'

Not a nice way to spend 2 hours. And no one touched the buffet.
I've even been measured for the puffer jacket so it's looking good....The only thing not in my favour is my inability to bellow myself beetroot without doing a sick. Watch this space.

I was glad to hear that Sainsbury's have made a step in the right direction towards reducing the amount of glaringly stupid food advice currently swelling landfills.
Previously, their 'guidance' was that fresh food intended for the freezer must be frozen on the day of purchase. Now, they have thrown caution to the wind and are telling us that we can freeze food any time up to, and including, the 'use by' date.
I can't wait for their next bulletin in their 'Stating the Bleeding Obvious range'. May I suggest, 'if it's green, slimy and stinky, and it's not a gherkin, don't eat it'.

I've had another win. It's a guide book on London. I like visiting London, but haven't been for years. I think it's an omen.

My feet are still firmly on the ground though. On finding a sprouty celery bottom in the bowels of the fridge on Tuesday, I decided to nurture it and it's coming on quite well.  I'm quite fond of celery leaves in salads and stews and am surprised that supermarkets haven't latched onto it already. They could package it, call it 'Celery Herb' and flog it to unsuspecting shoppers for about a quid. I bet someone would buy it. Are you listening Bannatyne?
Growing a celery. 
Dave is convinced that there is a link between finding another dead mouse in the attic today, and the sad death of Whitney Houston. We haven't trapped a mouse in ages, so I have to admit, it's one hell of a coincidence.
He now believes that whenever a mouse succumbs to the trap in our attic it foretells, or even possibly triggers, the death of a famous figure.
As a result of this tenuous and frankly, deranged train of thought, he now feels responsible for the deaths of Etta James, Angelo Dundee and Don Cornelius, all having been lured to the grave by Tesco Value peanut butter.
Conspiracy theorists around the world are already saying, 'Shut up, you Twonk'.
'Whitney' was solemnly buried with full Soul Train honours, near the compost heap earlier today. It was a small private ceremony, attended by Dave and his shovel.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Mainly faggots, with a bit of mortgage and mechanics.

I love faggots.
They are second in my 'favourite dinners' list, which currently runs to over 70 entries and are only topped by my ultimate Death Row Dinner.
I was in Morrison's the other day, perusing the freezer section when I noticed that Brain's Faggots were on offer at 89p for six. I used to love Brain's Faggots, or Mr Brain's Faggots if we're being formal, but I haven't had them for about 30 years. I've always had the sneaking suspicion that they're one of those things that don't taste as nice as you remember them, like Goblin pies, Space Dust and Vesta dehydrated beef curry.
On the other hand, 89p for a pack of six faggots weighing around 700g sounded like a decent deal, so I had a closer look.
Reading the ingredients I was disappointed to see that they are a whopping 62% gravy, or 'sauce' as they refer to it on the packaging. Sauce??? Sauce is ketchup, HP or, at a push, Salad Cream.

Dear Mr Brains Faggots,
Faggots come with gravy, and gravy isn't sauce.  

Anyway, perhaps it's just me, but that seems like a stupidly high gravy-to-faggot ratio which would lead to an insubstantial, but very wet, dinner. I've had lumpy gravy with more solids in it.
You may as well buy a can of Oxtail soup and drop a couple of bits of burger into it. It's basically faggot soup.

The actual faggots, making up the remaining 38%, had a list of ingredients starting with water, rusks and rehydrated pork rinds. To me, 'rehydrated pork rinds' sounds like another way of saying 'wet scratchings', which in itself sounds like a genital infection deserving it's own 'special' on Embarrassing Illnesses.

Nah, I thought to myself, that doesn't sound like good value nor does it sound particularly appetising, what with the wet scratchings and that. Added to that, Dave has a deep suspicion of any ready made food except baked beans, so after literally 10 seconds of deliberation, I decided to go home and make my own. Here's how I do faggots. Like all of my recipes, it's very vague but none the worse for it...

About 500g of sausages, skinned.
About 500g of liver, fried with a chopped onion and whizzed up in the food processor.
About 500g of pork mince.

To that I add sage, loads of pepper, allspice, salt, nutmeg, an egg, some breadcrumbs or oats and sometimes some chopped bacon. Just mash it all together and microwave or fry a tiny bit to make sure that the seasoning is right. I use about 3 teaspoons of salt to that amount of faggot meat, but we like salty food.
Shape them into balls and bake in the oven, or in my case, the Remoska, with gravy and more chopped onion.
19 in total. At least 1.5kg of 100% prime grass-fed faggot meat.
Having been Remoska'd for about an hour.
Here they are served with their rightful accompaniments-bread rolls, mushy peas, gravy and chips. I believe that it's actually illegal in this country to serve them with anything else and if it isn't, it should be.

Yes, I should've wiped the plate before taking the photo, but I wanted to eat my faggots.
On researching this piece I have read various recent reviews of Brains faggots and the overwhelming view seems to be that they aren't what they used to be, which I'm sure a lot of us can identify with.
One reviewer gives a harrowing description of being a victim of drink fuelled 'faggot rage', having bigged up the Brains to friends before serving them for dinner. On tasting the faggots it all turned ugly, starting with the host suffering mild ridicule but quickly escalating to them being spat at and chased round the garden by the furious guests.

Faggots aside, on Saturday, out of the blue and completely unsolicited, I had a phone call from our mortgage lender. The young man wanted to let me know that they could lend us an additional £67,000, no questions asked, for whatever purpose we liked. He went on to say that if the £67,000 wasn't enough, they may be able to offer us more but they'd have to do a 'financial check' first.
I found this a bit odd, what with me being an out of work layabout. The mortgage company is also our bank, so a quick look at our account would confirm a drop in income. I told him politely that our current aim was to pay off the mortgage asap, not get a bigger one.
Banks, eh? You have to laugh... What are they like?

As I mentioned in a previous post, the windscreen wipers on the Polo had given up the ghost since the snow. They have not responded to Dave's attempts to 'fix' them using the hairdryer, so we took the car to the local garage in Maenclochog on Saturday morning. Not for the first time, the garage owner had the job done in less than five minutes and barely charged anything.

Having been well and truly ripped off and messed around in the past by garages in the Midlands, I find it refreshing that I can visit a garage for minor repairs and:
1-Get the job done and the car back in less than 12 days.
2-Not have to take up the mortgage company's kind loan offer to pay for  it.
3-Not be spoken to like I'm stupid and told a load of old fairy tale bollocks.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Dead laptops, snow rage, arse floss and winnit flavoured crisps.

Yesterday, while the laptop was idling on the floor Monty the Bedlington terrier  came over all Bruce Lee and decided to take a run up and throw himself at speed into the screen, slamming it into the slate floor and killing it outright. He is fine, though hardly flavour of the month.
Looks like defiance, not remorse.
So today, for the first time in years, I had to brave the axis of evil that is the Currys/Comet duopoly and reluctantly part with some of Dave's hard earned cash.
Normally, being a bit sad and geeky, I would research a big purchase like this for several months, but having no Internet on which to research, I had to buy 'blind'.
On visiting Currys/Comet I was surprised to find that they are both the same place, with the same people working in them, selling the same products for the same price. They are like parallel universes, both paying pricey commercial rents. I think they should save money by moving in together. Then they could mate, lay an egg and call the hatchling Curmet. A kind of retail Jedward.

The chap who served me was okay except he kept trying to sell me 'extras' despite me saying several times that 'I JUST WANT THE COMPUTER', which only seemed to encourage him to reduce the price of the 'extras' by a tenner or so. If  you actually want 'extras' when buying a computer, I suggest that you use this strategy.
He also kept calling me 'love', which isn't good unless you've got a strong Lancashire accent and are about 60 years older than me. He was around 25 and possibly a Midlander, like myself. I didn't say anything but he didn't get a tip.
Anyway, I left with a nice shiny red Hewlett Packard, but without a laptop bag, accident cover, extended warranty, anti viral drugs, a microfibre duster, Microsoft Office, 'in store set up', furry Olympic laptop skin or complimentary MRI scan. On the plus side I kept around £100 in my bank despite the salesman's slightly embarrassing attempts to get it into Curmets.
We'd had the old laptop for about six years, but it still worked well although I have to admit the new one is very good if a little 'alien'. It has a webcam and really good sound and is altogether quite impressive.

We've had loads of snow here over the last couple of days. This triggered Dave to have a hissy fit on Monday evening as he tried to get the car in a fit state to drive to work. As a result he did a lot of shouting on the drive in the middle of a snowstorm and accidentally took the kettle to work. The wipers wouldn't work on the Polo, so he had the indignity of having to drive the Micra instead, which he thinks makes him look like a twonk, especially when he's wearing a hat.

I was interested to hear this week of the thrifty dentist who has been banged up abroad, well, in Massachusetts, for using paperclips in a root canal treatment in order to save money.
This doesn't surprise me at all.
Many years ago I used to work as a dental nurse and the dentists were very careful indeed. Any extracted teeth that had gold fillings were saved in a pot of disinfectant, gum flaps, bone and all.
Steptoe's dad used to visit twice a year to collect the teeth and pay for the gold. Once the teeth had been sold, one dentist used to drink the old disinfectant because he thought it was 'lucky' and contained benevolent spirits.
Another of the dentists used to show patients how to floss their teeth, which is fair enough. So they'd be on their back, holding a mirror up, watching him performing a masterclass in flossing. What they didn't know was that he used the same piece of floss all week. And he liked to show every patient how to floss their teeth.
I remember him kicking off once when I threw away the floss on a Wednesday as it looked like he'd been flossing his arse with it.  He wasn't happy and my wages were docked accordingly.

I got a free packet of crisps delivered from Walkers yesterday. They are a 'Mystery' flavour and if I guess what it is correctly I could win £50,000, apparently. I ate them and they tasted like sausages, so off to the website I went to enter my guess-'sausages'.

You could have as many attempts at guessing the flavour as you wanted, and as you entered your guess it came up on the website, along with other peoples suggestions, e.g. ' Charlie-Wales-Chinese Ribs'.
Well, this was all too much temptation for me, what with being 44 and a lover of sophisticated humour.
I'm ashamed to say that after a go at 'haggis' and 'hotdog' I quickly entered the territory of  'old lady's pants', 'roadkill squirrel in August' and 'arse nuts'. I was highly amused at my own antics and was sat in front of the computer, shaking with mirth.
So if anyone was innocently entering their guess of  'Chicken Tikka' or suchlike at around 11am yesterday and 'my dog's winnits' came up, sorry...

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