Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is just another one of my many ‘ranty’ posts. It isn’t. But that’s okay. Like I say, I forgive you. And although I have been known to moan about stuff, I’ve also been known to write posts about things that make me happy. Well, I did once. Things like…oh, I can’t remember…ah, yes…bin day! I like bin day. Anyway, you could read that one positive blog for yourself here, if you like. But I have been noticing a few things mounting up that are starting to concern me. So much so that I was forced to make a list – just to prove to myself that, no, I’m not paranoid, but there is a pattern forming. A pattern of very small and innocuous things – things with a well-meaning façade. But these things have also proved to me that the world is very slowly and quietly going mad. Things like these…
No, no, not cups; not the ones you drink from. We need those. It’s the (non) metric food measurement I don’t get. I’m sorry, Americans, but why would any logical human being want to measure anything in cup-format? I was looking on the internet for a new and low-ish carb meal to make for dinner the other day (and settled on a sausage, broccoli and cheese bake). I’d already had to come to terms with the fact that I was going to need to make the meal twice because my youngest has just turned vegetarian. But because the internet is the internet, and a lot of these low carb recipes come from the States, I was forced to plump for this one. I know what you’re thinking, ‘you can turn cup conversions into metric’, and sometimes the recipes will even let you click a link for a metric version. But oh, frikkin’, no. Not this one. Remember, a fluid cup is not the same as a dry cup, so there’s often a fair bit of calculation to do. AND I forgot to do this conversion prior to starting on dinner. So, I had to fish out my ‘cup’ measurement-instrument-thingy and had the stress of trying to decipher half a cup of mayonnaise, quarter of a cup of cream, two cups of cream cheese (yes, I know, it was a high fat meal, wasn’t it?), and two cups of grated cheese (how are you supposed to measure cheese in cups? You’ve got to grate it blind without knowing if you’ve done too much or too little until you’ve awkwardly stuffed the greasy bits into a ****ing cup!). And all the while, fifteen alarms are going off as the broccoli has par-boiled, and the meat sausages have fried, and the veggie sausages have fried, the bastard-thing ought to have been in the oven ten minutes ago, and I still haven’t finished smearing mayonnaise into a sh*tting cup! Wouldn’t it be far easier to measure everything into one bowl – accurately – on a weighing scale like Europeans do? My kitchen looked like a bloody dairy factory had thrown up all over it. Cups suck. And you know it.
2: Committing to memory if my daughters’ friends are called, Georgie, Georgia, Georgina, or Georgiana
I kid you not, there are tonnes of them. All with very slight variations of the same name. Both my daughters have befriended a plethora of them. And I’m expected to remember which child has which insubstantially and infinitesimally different name. Well, it’s just not on. I’m going to ban my daughters from making friends with anyone with a name like the above in future. I’ve already got too many to contend with and I can’t go on like this.
3: The lengths people will go to just to decorate a cake
I’ve never enjoyed baking, I never watch ‘The Great British Bake-Off’, and I’m probably only jealous because I very rarely allow myself to eat cake. The thing is, I see so many of these extreme cake decorations on my social media feeds (not done by people I know, I’ve no idea who they are or why I’m seeing so much cake), and you can see these cake-bakers have spent at least three days on their creations. And I think to myself, ‘…what’s the point? You’re just going to stuff it into your mouth, grind it to a paste with your molars, and have that piece of work you sweated blood and tears over dissolve in your gastric enzymes…’. And I mean, I know the old saying ‘the first bite is with the eye’, but some of the cakes really are pieces of art – so why work so hard on something that’s going to be horribly destroyed in your stomach? Having said that, I saw one cake just the other day that was supposed to look like a volcano, it had its middle hollowed out to allow for this (that’s the other thing I dislike, the often wasted cake pieces cut off to create a fancy shape) and some kind of dry ice in the middle to recreate ‘lava’ (like you do). They’d melted coloured sweets in the oven to resemble flames of fire for the top, and everything. It must have taken bloody ages! Unfortunately, this cake had a greater likeness to a dog’s dinner. In fact, I’ve seen my cat consume an entire sachet of cat food, then instantly throw it back up again (a result of eating too much grass, methinks), and it was just about as attractive. Look, I can see the need for a show-stopping wedding cake; that kind of cake needs to be a spectacle. And maybe for a very special birthday – when you’re having a party and people are coming over. But on the whole, I’d say bake a standard cake, I’ll allow a sandwich cake; that’s alright. Forget about hollowing out the middle, shaping it into the Cysteine Chapel or Mont Blanc or something. Don’t worry about marbling, or thirty-eight coloured layers. Forget that disgusting dayglo fondant icing that’s rolled on, which tastes so sweet it would rot your head off. Bake a basic cake, slap on a smear of chocolate icing, and eat it. *Ignores the fact that much of bitterness stems from pure laziness and banning self from eating cake*
I’m not good with surprises. I just like to be told what’s going on. I’m a firm believer in being prepared for things. Surprise holidays or birthday parties may be exciting for some, but for me they just cause angst. It would be far kinder to tell me EXACTLY what is happening, leaving no detail spared (I’m talking dates, ETA’s, expected duration [this is of vital importance], other invitees, etc etc). That way, I know precisely what to wear/pack/expect/psyche myself up for. And if it’s an occasion for which I’m going to be expected to tidy the house (let’s face it, no other bugger in my house will do it), then of course, I’m going to need to know. I’m not even that great with other peoples’ surprises. I don’t feel I can trust myself to keep a secret. With this failing of mine in mind, I think it’s best we’re all honest and above board about things. It’s safer that way. *Worriedly prepares self never to receive a surprise (or fancy cake) ever again*
5: Photographing your bare feet in the foreground on a sandy beach/by an outdoor pool whilst on holiday, then posting it on social media
I dare say I have been guilty of such an offence in the past. You could probably delve through my Facebook feed, scrolling back many years, and maybe you’d find one. Maybe. Probably. But I hope I’ve grown since then. Mind you, the temptation to do it is immense, I agree. I was just in the French Alps on holiday the other week, lying on a sun lounger by the outdoor pool, and in a strange kind of mesmeric and dream-like state, I found my phone being hypnotically raised to photograph my feet. But luckily, there was a mortified voice in my head that screamed out, ‘what are you, a monster?!’ and the mission was aborted. I think we can all agree that we dodged a bullet there. Especially with my weird feet.
Okay, I think I’d better wrap it up now. I’ve offended half my readership as it is. And Georgina (or was it Georgiana?) has vowed never to visit this site again. But there were so many more I.Just.Can’t.Even’s I had to miss out; subjects like, ‘is it an essential parenting requirement that I make conversation with my child’s monosyllabic school friend during an after-school dinner?’, or ‘why I don’t like musical mash-ups’ (I’ve been watching a lot of Glee re-runs lately, and you really shouldn’t mix two perfectly good songs together), or ‘should I be losing my sh*t every time somebody writes, “don’t mind if I do/it would be rude not to” beneath the photograph of a cocktail on Facebook or Instagram?’. But we’d be here all night. And none of us want that.