Tag: <span>BEST</span>

Blimey, yer a strange bunch.

In fact I’m also a little insulted. I spend hours crafting blog posts, considering the weighty issues of the day, or trying to capture the elusive quality of a moment, carefully choosing my words to be thought-provokingly poetic.

Despite all that, what are the topics that really get you going? Whether tea is rubbish and how to hang up washing to dry! I’ve not had this many comments since we discussed toenails a few years back (July 2004? blimey), well apart from that one time I ASKED for comments.

The lesson here is that the mundane artefacts of modern life are something we all feel passionately about, and such things as which beverage you drink take on whole new realms of importance. We revel in the detail and, as such things are commonplace, everyone is an expert.

I’ve heard this kind of thing, in professional terms, described as the curse of knowledge. It’s an interesting turn of phrase and seems appropriate here. We all know what we know about how we, to continue the example, make a cup of tea. We may acknowledge that other methods produce similar results but deep down we know that the way WE make tea is the BEST way. With that basic understanding in place it becomes very difficult to see things from any other point of view (professionally this is why people get annoyed when you don’t know what they know, because they no longer remember having had to learn it).

But enough of that. This fascination with the every day items and tasks of modern life continues to be a good touching point, something we all do and know, so I guess it’s no wonder that discussions about how to hang up washing to dry are so… entertaining? I was going to say interesting but they aren’t really, are they, as anyone who has read the comments on the previous post going to suddenly try a new way to hang their clothes up to dry? No, I didn’t think so…

We do love a bit of introspection don’t we. And by we I mean all of us, the people of planet earth. Some enjoy it more than others, I agree, but everyone is fascinated by themselves on some level.

Even if that level is, quite literally, navel gazing.

Anyway, it’s this kind of thing that gives blogging a bad name so I think it’s time to buck up the ideas!

Well, maybe … you see … the thing is … I do have one more question …

If you are making a peanut butter and jam sandwich (PBJ to my American readers) do you also use butter (as in, Lurpak)?


In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

Question 6: mike, from whom I ‘borrowed’ the idea behind these posts, asked me to give “Five Things The Scottish Could Learn From The English, and Five Things The English Could Learn From The Scottish”. Alas I’ve left this one too late to include “How to beat France at football” in my list but, hey, I thought I’d mention it again.

Now, with such tight constraints I’ll obviously have to aim my sights on the stereotypes of both nations and, just so we are all “singing from the same hymn sheet” (ohh god, shoot me now!), we’ll agree that the English are arrogant and selfish and that us Scots are friendly and generous.


The one thing that holds this post back from being a simple couple of lists, apart from my tendencies to over-think these things, is that there are certain traits that are considered “British”. The unwillingness to complain (or, more accurately, the dislike of ‘making a scene’), the constant apologies for things that aren’t our fault (yes, I too apologise when someone else steps on MY foot) and the drinking of tea to cure all ills.. that kind of thing, all “British” traits.

So I’ve had to look pretty deep into the psyche of both countries, and the following is taken from personal experience of having lived “dahn sarf” for a couple of years. A Scot amongst men you might say…

Five Things The Scottish Could Learn From The English

  1. Confidence – We revel in being the underdog and, for the most part, it serves us well. We are a nation of infrequent over-achievers and yes, I’m going to mention beating France at football again.
  2. Being Gay – you get Stephen Fry, we get those two twats from daytime DIY programs (Craig and.. thingy)
  3. Pubs – one glaring difference in the attitude towards the pub. In Scotland a pub is for drinking in, a place to get away and meet some acquaintances. In England the local has a much more ‘family’ feel to it. Not a bad thing, every community needs a centre… ok, so maybe a pub isn’t the BEST place but it’s a start.
  4. Sundays – Sunday lunch, a quiet day with few shops open. Yes it DOES make a difference.
  5. Nope… I’m out… anyone??

Five Things The English Could Learn From The Scottish
Only five? Really?? Damn, this is much easier than… yeah, you get it.

  1. Humility – confidence is one thing but it too frequently spills over into arrogance and that’s not a very nice trait. Whilst it does begin to grate when you are STILL celebrating winning the World Cup over 40 fuckin’ years ago.
  2. Square sausage – if you know, you know. If you don’t, get some!
  3. How to drink – or more accurately, why allowing pubs to stay open longer STOPS everyone cramming as much alcohol down their necks on a Friday night before the pubs shut. Up here we are much more civilised about it.
  4. Kilts – they are NOT skirts. You know that feeling when you put on your best suit, multiply that by ten when you’ve got some tartan swinging round yer knees!
  5. How to talk proper like – there is a reason why the more tempered Scottish lilt is rated as one of the nicer accents in the world. Plus we actually make an effort to pronounce all the letters in a word.

Contentious? Possibly, so feel free to suggest others, I very much doubt that this is an exhaustive list, and I very much doubt that broad agreement will ever be reached anyway. You sassenachs are an argumentative bunch…

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Thank fuck I’m on holiday for the rest of the week. Two 12 hour days and I’m done in.

So it was great to come home tonight and find a parcel of goodies waiting for me, specifically some yummy fudge (VERY yummy) and some salt water taffy!

Now, I’ll happily admit that my only experience with salt water taffy was that episode in Friends, the one where… something ‘zany’ happened no doubt. So it was with some trepidation that Louise and I unwrapped the little chunks, popped them in our mouths and slowly started to chew.

And whaddya know, they’re delicious! Slightly sour/salty sweet chewy things, very hard to describe but very more-ish. If it wasn’t so late I’d probably just work my way through the lot!

So, many many thanks to the lovely, and very cute, Calista. A package of tablet is almost complete but I really want to wait until Sunday to get some from the farmer’s market as it’s the BEST tablet I’ve ever EVER had, ohh my mouth is watering already.


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There is a call centre near my office and every evening as I walk to the train station I partake in the “I’ll go left” waltz with many of the people heading to the call centre for the back shift. Last night, however, was a little bit different.

As I turned the corner at the top of the road I spotted a young Asian lady walking towards me. She had a lovely embroidered purple headscarf on, which I glanced at as I walked past. In one of those split second things, she looked at me at the exactly same instance, it was then I released that I’d been looking at her for the last few seconds.

I wonder what she was thinking. Was she thinking, typical man ogling a woman, or perhaps leering letch? Had she noticed at all? Or was it something else?

The current news, the horrible events in London and with ongoing investigations bringing Muslims to the forefront of our minds, I wonder if she thought I was judging her, assessing her.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to stop people in the street and assure them that you’re not as small minded as that. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to share a differing point of view, and discuss it with another human being.

Yes, pipe dreams I know, but I’m not going to pander to the caresses of maudlin. Just for one day, can’t we assume the BEST of people? Unfortunately not.

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