Left-Over Posts? Snippets Not Quite Meaty Enough On Their Own To Make A Satisfying Post?
This Is The Place To Come To Use Them Up.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A history lesson

Scene: Eating a Caesar Salad in the garden - all home-grown lettuce (we're over-run - see pic!)

Skeptical sidekick: So... [pokes lettuce around plate]... who invented Caesar Salad?

Me: The Romans of course. Caesar, you see?

SS: Did the Romans even have lettuce?

Me: Of course they did!  You get Romaine lettuces. And Saint Paul was a Roman wasn't he? He sent Lettuce to the Corinthians.

Comedic responses on the them of lettuce now invited...

Monday, 28 June 2010

Why Do We Have to go to School? - Oh yeah, this is why!


Q.: What is small, light brown and travels at the speed of light?
A.: An apricot miniature poodle falling downstairs.

At 5:30am I was fixing my first cup of coffee. Angus had followed me downstairs and had gone outdoors. Max was lying abed . . . Sunday morning, after all.  I heard his feet hit the floor when he jumped off the bed. I heard him ba-dump down the first stairstep. I heard him fumble on the second. The fumble continued to a sort of muffled wutta-wutta-wutta-wutta-wutta-wutta-wutta-wutta, all the way down the flight of fifteen steps.
I was relieved to see, when he came into view and skidded across the landing and smacked his face against the wall, that he was still upright.
He had skied all the way down!

He's fine. 
Me, I'm still a little rattled.

Friday, 25 June 2010

I Wasn't Anticipating Any Trouble ....

The Frisian expression , " In glimke suveret de tosken ." ( A smile cleans your teeth ) , obviously strikes the local Health Authority as being about as accurate as most . So they send a dental nurse round to schools to give lessons on how to brush your teeth .
There are no reliable statistics on how many children ... or indeed playschool workers .... are permanently traumatised by this woman and these giant gnashers . But , I know that I'm looking forward to next week's visit to the toskedokter ( Fr.) even less than usual .

I'd better get smiling ....


This is what I think.  At 60 games all, it should have been declared a draw.  Then both ball-whackers could have proceeded to the next round, there to play against a single opponent.  A doubles match one side of the net, versus a singles on the other.  That would give the spectators something to grunt about.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Following on from QMM in the previous post, also along musical lines (maybe):


Oh, life is s glorious circle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
And I am Marie of Roumania.

Dorothy Parker

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

What a neat idea.
I think this is a goodwill gesture.

Pianos all over the city. Folks can just sit down and play and soon folks gather around and start to talk that in itself is a miracle.

This were put there by a group but the video does not tell about their purpose and plans for the pianos.
They to travel to different town.
I think this has been done in Europe.
Some of your internationals may know.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Seattle Harbour Real Estate

I am entranced with the idea of living in a tiny house.  An energy efficient, perfectly designed, no-wasted-space place near the water but must be in an urban environment with a coffee shop and a food market within walking distance. 

Reader, I’ve found it. 


Saturday, 19 June 2010

I've Turned Into My Grandmother

Alarming conversation with grandson when I called to wish him a Happy Birthday . Three years old , doesn't time fly !
"Hello , Granny . I'm Diamondhead ." Oh ? "Yes , he can pull diamonds out of his fingers " . "Oh , splendid ! ", I say feebly , suddenly reminded of my own grandmother , peering at a cousin's badge . " How nice , darling . What does it say ?" . Cousin's muffled snort . "It's a Peace badge , Granny " .
What it actually said , in mercifully small letters , was Too Much Sex Makes You Shortsighted .

Anyway , there seem to be 23 Ben 10 aliens plus 17 in Ben 10's Alien Force and a further 20 Ben 10 future Aliens . All with such attractive names , too . Upchuck , Toepick and Goop . I've got a month to familiarise myself with the dramatis personae before I see him . Youtube is a lifesaver at times . Contemporary culture at one's fingertips .

And just when I was doing so well with my trawl through the contemporary Scottish poetry scene and felt I could hold my own in any highbrow gathering . Though I have to say I prefer Kathleen Jamie's prose , myself .

Thursday, 17 June 2010


I woke up from a dream this morning in which I had misplaced one poodle. Another black poodle, an exact replica, except that his apricot brother got along with him, appeared to take his place. Everything was fine. In the dream, Husband and I remarked to each other how nice this was.

Then I found two black poodles, unknowns, cavorting in the bathtub. What could I do? They had fallen from the sky and had to be kept. Then a second apricot poodle meandered in the door. Closing the door after this new one, I saw the original black poodle resting on the lawn, taking the air and the sun.

Here I am, looking [somewhat] forward to attrition, and in my dreams I'm accumulating the things like lint.

Uruguayan Butterfly Mash

With Uruguay in the World Cup, I was just looking through my pictures taken this time last year when I was in Uruguay (long story). 

It was the beginning of winter but still warm and sunny enough to sit out in the old cobbled square of Colonia. 

Suddenly a gorgeous butterfly settled on my mashed potatoes! It stayed there for ages but I didn't have the heart to 'shoo' it - still makes me smile!

That's what I call a garnish!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

It Must Have Seemed Like Such A Good Idea

Husband's just had a present . Perfect for the armchair World Cup afficionado . Just the thing to jot down the scores and possible permutations of teams in the following rounds .

What could be better than a handy ballpoint with a built-in notepad , albeit small . Pull out on the shiny strip down the side of the pen's barrel and Bob's Your Uncle !

Have you spotted the snag yet ?

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

If Only..

Bursting by Dorothy Aldiss

We've laughed until my cheeks are tight.
We've laughed until my stomach's sore.
If we could only stop we might
Remember what we're laughing for.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

When the Universe Says Hello

These summer days of no rain my wife and me and some friends have been taking advantage of the beaches in Saint Petersburg, Florida, before the black tar death reaches us. Despite the fact that our beaches are as beautiful as ever, tourism is down by 25%.

Every trip to the beach is unique. One day you notice a type of shell washed up in profusion that you had not seen before. On another day puffs of seaweed loll on the shore, and on inspection one is delighted to find tiny octopi clinging to them. Sometimes schools of rays dally in the shallows, other times one is lucky enough to catch sight of a roseate spoonbill. The color of the sky and water is never the same, constantly changing. Two weeks ago it was a bright aqua, last week more emerald. To be on the Gulf beach when a storm rolls in is a spectacle not to be missed. It's astonishing, really. You might think the experience is always the same: sun, sand, sea. But no matter how many hundreds of times you go, it feels unique.

And last week something happened that has never happened to us before, and may never happen again. My back was to the horizon, I was having a pleasant conversation with my wife and a friend in four and a half feet of water when my wife heard a little pfff sound. A manatee had surfaced just inches away from my back. Another manatee was just behind it. And for the next twenty minutes, with the shy one just behind, that manatee floated around the three of us, occasionally drifting forward to gently nudge one of us with his whiskered face.

Now, I know that it's the nature of these creatures to be the incarnation of gentleness, just as the nature of a tiger would be to have us for lunch. Even so, it was impossible not to feel blessed by this experience - that in the immensity of the Gulf this creature came right up to us, for no other reason, perhaps, than simple curiosity. It was like the universe itself had just decided to say hello.

Knock Knock

Knock Knock

Who's there?


Euripedes who?

Euripides pants, I slapa da face.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Tongue Firmly in Cheek

Along the lines of a previous post  -- I once convinced a friend that this Blue Willow plate was a collector's piece and especially valuable because it had been printed upside down...
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Like Ducks To Water

Sonata :
Holland has a lot of canals . You're never far from a stretch of water . Waiting for at least one of the three or four bridges that you'll need to cross to reopen for traffic has to be reckoned on in any trip across town in the summer .

If you're not in a hurry , it's fun to see who's coming through today . Could be a bride , a sk├╗tje full of students on holiday , a barge full of gravel , a German couple in matching anoraks , a string of kayaks , the council canal cleaner with his huge net ......

Or you'll just see some chap moored playing his saxaphone . A bit further up another moored dinghy has been turned into a temporary poker den for the lads ( none younger than 80 ) . And here's the bridal party again , each clutching a glass and passing round a tray of nibbles ....
P.S. For some reason ( probably my ineptitude ) the collage can't be enlarged by clicking on it . So , if you'd like to see it or any of the photos in it , they're in the set Dutch Boats on our Flickr site called SmitoniusAndSonata .

You say potato, I say potahto...

I studied the French language for seven years. I love the way my facial muscles work when I speak it (rarely and haltingly but with, I have been told by native French speakers, a fine accent), I love the sound of the language and the way it all rolls together. And I learned to accept as normal the male and female noun thing.  I read this morning about what The Virtual Linguist calls "gender systems." I didn't know it was called that.

I wonder how that happened...that some things are female and others are male. And why are they male in German and female in Spanish?  Why, in the US, are cars referred to as "she"? And dogs, most often by not-dog people, "he"?

It's a funny thing.

A friend of mine studied German for about the same length of time that I studied French. I don't understand the capitalizing of various words in German, either. Dutch and German sound very much alike to me. Are words capitalized in Dutch as well?

Language: A wonderment.

Thanks for the FS feedback.

Right, off we go again. 
With more of the same, just fewer links. 
Next lecture when we have another fifty followers.

I would think that comments are welcome from anybody,
hence the open format.

And now, are you sure nobody wants the slipper I brought you?






And I can say this stuff with a straight face...!

I was sixteen and my sister, twenty. She was showing my mother and me some book with gold-edged pages. I handled it and got gold sparkles all over my fingers. I put the book down and said, 
"I feel gilty." My mother began to laugh. My sister, intent upon other books in the piles, said, "Don't feel guilty. You didn't hurt it."
"I feel gilty," I said again.
My  mother kept laughing and my sister finally got it: "Sheesh," she said.

My sister and I were in a pizza restaurant. I said I liked anchovies on pizza.
"Ugh," she said, "They're so salty!"
"But it's good economics for restaurants to sell them. Anchovies are leftover spoiled tuna, you know. So it's technically spoiled, but there's still a market for them, and it uses up what could otherwise not be sold."
She believed that for years.

I was walking with my friend in the fields. She said something about how nice it was to be walking while the sun was still low in the eastern sky.
"But y'know what, Andrea? Tomorrow the sun's gonna rise in the west."
"Whyzzat, June?"
I didn't answer.
"Whyzzat?" she asked again.
I stopped walking; she walked on.
After several paces, she stopped and turned back.
"You made that up, didn't you."

I love doin' that stuff.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Vile habits

Ok, seeing as we're desperate here... The chatty girl who came to assess my (now for-sale) home's energy efficiency and draw up floor plans was delighted to get a cup of tea in a clean house/mug, and told me horror stories about going into the houses of single male occupants.

No, nothing rude or a risk to her personal safety, just revolting accounts of hygiene standards, or lack of. The worst was getting tea in a mug that was handed to her with the words "just well-used over time" - a mug so tea-stained inside that the thickly-layered tannin was peeling off in strips.

She took it round the house with her as she worked, and in the garden, quietly poured it out into the grass. And bless her, felt guilty about doing so.

I'm just relieved she didn't get to see his washing basket......

Soup Du Jour

Homemade and funny: this was a request
I received from Friko, who's one of the best
aficionados of soup recipes...
I put on my chef's hat, and, hoping to please,
I look for ingredients. But what do I find?
The store cupboard's bare. Oh, dear, what a bind!

Can some of you donate a slice or a serving
of ideas, to help me o'er come an unnerving
lack of ingredients? Just throw me a word
and I'll try to concoct a little absurd,
but hopefully tasty, pottage of note
from any suggestions wot you 'ave all wrote.

I shall hope to dispel that ancient old myth
that too many cooks spoil the broth - or the bryth?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Any minute now: fifty followers!

And we're not even handing out prizes!

That's not bad, is it?, considering that I only started this blog on 2nd Feb. 2010 and there are just a few of us who are following our own site. It's taken me a lot longer to come up with such spectacular results in my own blog. In fact, I am nowhere near such spec. res. in my blog, the numbers are positively crawling up, in comparison.

We must be getting something right!

Where do all those followers come from/find us? I know that some of you (followers) leave comments, but there are quite a few who never utter.  Any chance of a peep? A little one ?

I also wonder if the cooks who rarely, if ever, post, want to stay on?  Mind you, you probably also don't come and read, so there's not much point in waiting for a reply.

In the old days, well all of two or three months ago, contributions came at a gallop, there were fewer links and more of the home-made stuff; now posts come in barely at a trot.

Are we getting bored? Is the site becoming boring?

I don't like boring, besides, can we afford to disappoint our followers? Which is where I came in and where I'll leave proceedings for now. There's some telly I want to watch.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Pick Your Bribes Carefully

Playgroup photograph day .
Only one bouncing , beaming little girl was happy to pose . The rest had to be coaxed and coaxed .... and coaxed . The last one stood firm , yelling defiance and kicking in a corner .
Till I opened his snack box and whipped out a cherry tomato .
Luckily he had a red tee-shirt on . And I'm sure Photoshop can do something about the red blob on his nose .

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Learning to Swim can Damage your Health

The Shipwreck
Claude Joseph Vernet

Learning to swim is now seasonable: but keep knowledge of your skill from non-swimmers in case of shipwreck.

'I have known many excellent swimmers, whereof some in the sight of the wished Land have perished by the Sea waves, and others have sunk by the weight of their fearful companions knowing their skill.'

Fynes Moryson  Itinerary 1617

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Mysterious Ways of Cows

 So, is this a passing lane? 
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Friday, 4 June 2010

Odds And Ends

A colleague is going to China this summer on a three week package tour with her husband . Peking , The Great Wall , the Clay Army , the works . When she was talking about it with a neighbour , the neighbour asked "And does that include a week on the beach ? ".

A new baker opened near my house , this week . Lovely bread , I must say , and the young assistant , probably recognising greed and repeat sales when she saw me , pressed an envelope into my hand . "It's our bonus scheme . Save your till receipts in here and when you've got €50's worth , you get a discount . " I must remember to do that .... the discount is a whole Euro .

Standing by the fish section in the supermarket , another woman and I were wondering about the prawns . "What makes these organic? Surely they come from the same sea ? ".
"Ah , but the organic ones are on offer this week . They're the cheapest . " Ah ......

And discovering John Burnside's poems .

More BBC News?

Dr. FTSE sent this to me by eMail, for the delectation of Fridge Soup aficionados -

"Check out http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4253849.stm But not if you're eating chicken nuggets!"

He wants to know if it's a right rip-off, or a left rip-off?
No wonder he's gone into hiding!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The best-laid plans . . .

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is making plans for new buildings in various cities of he UK. It might be a good idea to get the plans checked over before work starts.

When the current Broadcasting House was built, it was decided that an in-house concert hall with room for an auditorium would be a good idea.  Not a huge hall, but certainly with enough space for chamber orchestras and piano recitals.

Grand pianos need a fair-sized doorway to put them into place. To make sure that the entrance to the concert hall would easily facilitate this, engineers designed a wooden mock-up of a grand piano to be built in the workshop, from where it could be transported into the concert hall.

The mock-up was carefully measured, tweaked and twisted until it was as close to a real piano as possible, a fine example of the carpenter’s art.

The moment came to transfer it to the concert hall.

You’ve guessed it, the mock-up was too large to fit through the doors of the workshop.