Most of us have heard of a “mono diet” but here in Blighty we’re having “mono weather”, served up with a medley of seasonal annoyances found in the local environs, like a piece of limp cabbage you would rather scrape from your plate. For example, why do some people walk round Brighton wearing denim mini-shorts with white pumps and tights in the middle of December when there are puddles everywhere? Why do other people wear shorts with bare legs: are they mad or are their internal thermostats defective? Furthermore, it should be the season to be ‘jolly’ (well, almost) but the proprietor of the local pub in Poohaven (no, I don’t mean Peacehaven) sold me a rancid bottle of Asda ‘Smart Price’ wine for £7 on Saturday night – the cheek of it! My friend and I couldn’t drink it, which is really saying something... we are hardly known connoisseurs by the time we reach bottle number three.
Other than the above ‘thrills’, there has been little change since my previous entry: each and every day is rainy, grey, windy and cold. This hardly creates the ideal ambience for a trip outside with the kids, who, by 2pm daily, bounce off walls and anything else that might take their weight. Furthermore, a ‘nature walk’ (fnarr fnarr) would be most unpleasant. The damp-squib environment and tendency for Joe Public to lurk indoors – in workplaces, shopping centres and on buses - where we must all share his rancid breath, creates the ideal breeding ground for germs. Friends keep reporting a most unattractive selection of tummy bugs, flu-like viruses and sore throats. Still no reports of Piggy Flu in the ‘hood but I’m sure it’s out there... somewhere. In readiness for anything that involves projectile vomiting in the under-fours, I’ve covered my mattress in a waterproof protector. I think this is prudent, judging by last winter’s vomiting bug.
One friend has reported an unfortunate case of salmonella, caused by consuming a toxic chicken burger in central Brighton. ‘Vomillion’ – a new interior design texture for winter 2009-10 – sic. Or perhaps it should be ‘verminion’, as there are always so many pests around (including those who should review their food hygiene training). At present, my friend can only eat vegetables, bread, fish and other stomach-friendly foodstuffs. Red meat and pork are firmly off the menu. So, with the dietary requirements in mind, on Saturday evening, we ventured through the torrential downpour to the local Brewer’s Fayre (yes, I know, it’s hardly the Ritz but it has a handy indoor play frame for my lively infants) and we ordered Atlantic salmon. Despite its name so closely resembling my friend’s affliction, salmon is easy to digest. All was fine with the ‘traditional’ pub grub until a waiter ventured over to collect our empty plates. “Ugh, I bet that salmon was disgusting,” he told my friend. “It smells revolting.” There’s nothing quite like negative comments from the waiting staff to whet one’s appetite and inspire confidence in the clientele – especially when the aforementioned client is only just holding on to her solid food in the first place. “Actually, we liked it,” said my friend, rolling her eyes. “And, if you can’t stand the smell of fish, I suggest you avoid working in a kitchen environment.” The whining waiter then went on to complain that my little boys had been “running around”. My friend was less than impressed. “Yes, small children do tend to move,” she said. Actually, they had gone to the end of the bar to play with some balloons: hardly grounds to serve an ASBO.
If that’s not enough to drive one around the proverbial bend, I found a bug of a different kind in the Argos.co.uk back-end, which kept adding extra sets of ‘Monsters’ single duvet covers, and an extra duvet and pair of pillows, to my order. Three hours later, I was finished... aargh! Then there’s Facebook: much as our beloved “Facef*ck” is entertaining, people invariably pester or annoy you on there after a while. What on earth did we do to pass our time – time when we’re conspicuously supposed to be working - in the days before we were fed 24/7 with up-to-the-minute and sometimes unwanted reports re other people’s movements?
Fetch a protective mask! Delete! Delete! Exterminate! Exterminate! Can’t we just call pest control? Oh... purrlease!