Friday, 15 April 2022

Little Guide to Pet Peeves (Pt 9 - The Final Ragbag)

Well, I've now come to the final episode of something that was years in the planning. I began this 'little guide' for fun regarding some of my personal bête-noires and so with no further ado here it is!

Trousers that get wet at the bottom

I suppose another way of saying trousers that are too long or heels too flat. These are trousers you didn’t realise were scraping the pavements until, following a spell of damp weather, you discover you’ve got sodden hems flapping around your ankles. The wet patches can extend to the knees in some cases. Furthermore, on removal of said wet-bottomed trousers, you find the hems are also coming apart where a compound of recent rainfall and mucky gritty debris have found the weakest link and caused frayed holes.


I’ve handed this job over to my sister now who is assiduous about cutting open cartons of used juice or milk and turning them upside down on the draining rack until they’ve dripped dry. But when I did this thankless chore I didn’t have the patience to do all that. Instead, I would attempt to rinse them out through the snipped off pouring slot and then simply chuck them in a carrier bag hanging on a door handle. Soon the bag would be bulging and the dreaded journey had to be made to the Tetrabank. Admittedly it was only a few hundred yards up the road, situated in the car park along with the other recyclable banks, but the worst bit about it was having to feed each individual carton into the (usually) overflowing maw of the Tetrabank. Thus half flattened cartons still dripping with watery juice would be boomeranged out at you. Like the other city of cartons were saying ‘no room at the bin’ (one of my sister's expressions).

Thankfully, our recycling crew now pick them up from our premises.


Child-proof lids.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

I get that they’re supposed to be child-proof. Nobody wants to be running their child to A & E because they swallowed some lethal poison, but making them adult-proof too? You’re supposed to somehow squeeze these two parts on the lid, press down on the lid and turn at the same time. This is guaranteed to cause a sore red hand at the very least, and blisters and cuts if you’re unlucky. That is, if you still have any mobility left in your wrist. This action is guaranteed to disturb your mental equilibrium so that you wished you’d never begun the operation. Sometimes the anger and frustration gives you the strength you need through sheer fury that you end up with spilt bleach all down your trousers, the smell of which will remain for the next twenty-four washes at least. 


...or any ‘ie’ suffix which infantilises a name. I appreciate that this may be peculiar to me and that if someone is christened Katy then that is their name. I also have no problem with shortenings of name that end in ‘ie’ or ‘y’ such as Jackie or Debbie or their male equivalents. But Katie isn’t a shortening. It’s adding an extra little appendage that doesn’t need to be there. At best it’s an attempt to sound chummy, but when anybody calls me Katie I get the heebie-jeebies. Katy sounds fine on anyone else but it’s just not me. It doesn’t sound fun, or chummy, but annoying and belittling.




Waiting. Waiting for anything. For taxis that are late or for phone calls which don’t happen. But worst of all, is waiting for medical appointments, for instance if the doctor or dentist is running half an hour late or longer. As I turn up early for appointments, that makes the wait even longer and even more stressful. So by the time I get to see the doctor or dentist I’m already in a state of heightened anxiety. But there is also a palpable relief that the waiting is over!


You’ll love this

No I won’t. Not now you’ve told me to! They tell you before you’ve had a chance to come at it fresh and untainted - whether a song or a programme or a book. You’ll Love This. Well, I might have, but not now you’ve told me I will. I'm cussed like that. I like to discover things for myself. I don’t like you making up my mind for me or compelling me to fulfil your expectations of me. That’s pressure! What if I don’t like it? What if I prove you wrong? If you’d only say ‘I think you’ll like this’, that’s an altogether different proposition. Those two words ‘I think’ helps us both. It gives you permission to be wrong and allows me flexibility and lets us both save face.

Wrong dates

This will sound very nerdy to some but I hate it when people put the wrong dates of songs on YouTube. Here's one that I once saw: O Lori by Alessi 1976. What? It was 1977 not 1976!  What's in a year you may ask? Well, quite a lot when you're 17 and those summers couldn't have been more different weather wise. 1976 was hot and dry; 1977 cool and damp, and When Alessi sang about riding a bicycle with you and chasing you through the meadow it evokes memories of that cool summer. Another one: Men Without Hats was 83 and not 82. I could go (and on) but for those of us with memories attached to songs (or other events) we don't just pinpoint the year, but the particular month of a year. Jeez, we could probably pin it down to the hour if we thought about it!

Changing duvet covers


This surely has to belong in everyone’s. Grappling with a thing twice as wide as you and trying to fathom out where each of the four corners are inside of the wretched cover. You can always get someone to help you. But that can be double the trouble as you pinch the corner of your side’s bottom corner and swear blind you’ve got it right, stuffing the duvet into its designated corner to prove it – only to find that it’s somehow ended up in the top corner opposite or found its way out altogether! After half an hour of wrestling and swearing, if you’re lucky, the duvet will eventually take shape beneath the cover, albeit a lumpy one.  But if you can shake it out so that the duvet reaches all parts and you can punch down the lumps, you know you’re on the home straights.

NB: we've discovered duvet covers with three-sided, zips! Expensive but they make all the difference to this tedious task!

And that's it for now (although I will probably update from time to time, particularly the first one on lingo and expressions.) But I hope you've enjoyed the series and that some of it, at least, has resonated. Or perhaps brought about a completely different reaction which is equally fine! We are all very unique in our loves and hates but I've enjoyed engaging with those who've taken the trouble to read and added comments in the comments section. 

Happy Easter/springtime, one and all! 

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Little Guide To Pet Peeves - (Pt 8 – Pertaining to transport - pre-Covid, anyway)

The usual preamble––I began this 'little guide' for fun regarding some of my personal bête-noires and so here I am again, with my penultimate one.  This was all written before Covid but since 'opening up' maybe a lot of it has become relevant again.

Train Ticket Queues

I use trains less and less these days, but not being the calmest of people, one thing that raises my blood pressure is when you want to buy your tickets for that day’s journey, and there’s someone at the head of a long queue, snaking towards the entrance, booking tickets for several weeks in advance and asking the ticket official all sorts of non-relevant things––can my dog and my three aunties have forward facing seats too? Hmm, I’m still not sure whether to get the 15.23 or the one an hour later; can you give me the times of arrivals again? OK, and how much will that be? Then said woman (it is usually a woman) fiddles around for her card––can I pay with this card?––and is still firing questions at the hapless ticket officer while he or she dispatches her tickets and receipts.

Train Window Screens

free image courtesy luca morvillo (pexels)

The local line between Totnes and Exeter passes some of the most stunning views in the country. Once you’ve passed through Newton Abbot, you can enjoy a most spectacular ride, particularly if you’re lucky enough to get a forward facing seat on the sea side. The estuary opens out at Newton Abbot as you look over to Shaldon nestling over the water beyond the bridge and boats. (Coming in the other direction, towards Newton Abbot on an autumnal evening you will be treated to some striking sunsets or misty skies). Before you pass through Teignmouth station the beach-hutted land at the harbour stretches our towards Ness Rock at Shaldon. Boats and masts provide a splash of colour before the estuary widens out and becomes open sea. Between Teignmouth and Dawlish Warren––another place of outstanding beauty and renowned for its rare winter bird visitors and its dunes––there are five tunnels for the train to pass through. Brunel had them built into the distinctive red Devon cliffs so the railway could connect those in the south west with the rest of the country. 

You may even recall how we were all marooned for a few weeks after the storms of February 2014 battered the rails and the line was left swinging and unmoored. (just a little plug here—I go into a lot more detail about this line in my book The Dead Club!)

The open seas have so much variation: you may be treated to great spumes of wave froth on a rough spring tide, choppy white horses or a picture-card sparkling sea on a beautiful summer’s day with families enjoying the beach in summer. Or people will wave at the train from the sea wall. Beyond Dawlish Warren’s sandy dunes, where on the low tide you can see men with their buckets collecting molluscs, lies the lovely seaside town of Exmouth. We had a lovely friend who lived there––we used to meet in Teignmouth, a kind of halfway point between our two homes. Sadly she’s no longer with us but we carried on waving over to her spirit as we passed! And it’s not as though all the scenery is on the sea side either. On the land side you have the towering red cliffs, you have the seafront houses and hostelries of Dawlish and then the beautifully named Starcross. Beyond is Powderham Castle and the deer park, the deer often to be seen congregating in the fields as you rattle by. Back on the seaside, little clusters of habitation appear again, as the sea narrows into estuary once more, in the form of Lympstone, and Topsham (where we’ve spent many a family celebration) before arriving into Exeter. And I’ve barely mentioned the skies and cloud formations.

Now the point of this rather long preamble will become clear! Why with so much beauty, variation, and nature would anyone pull the window screens down when it’s sunny outside and prefer to be ogling some tiny screen of phone or tablet rather than the seaside! Such is life in the Internet age. But I have to confess that if I’ve been sitting on a seat behind or in front with a shared window screen to one of the guilty ones, I’ve whisked the screen up to reveal the erstwhile obscured view.  As yet, nobody has dared to pull it down again!

Minging cars 

Car interiors seem to absorb smells into their fabric if not cleaned regularly. Stale crisps or old dog or rotting umbrella canvas, I'm sure you've all travelled in cars that ming like this. Someone—a friend or acquaintance—has kindly offered you a lift somewhere and it would show ingratitude to turn it down. You may not even be aware of the state of their carriage until it turns up and by then it's too late anyway as you try and mask your urge to dry retch and ask how the windows open in the back. 

I once worked for someone like this and his car was like a travelling hovel—people spoke of old nappies in the back—and it wouldn't have surprised me. But when people are offering to take you from A to B, you put up and shut up. 

Train carriages can be like this too. For some reason people taking the lid off their soup or opening a packet of cheese and onion crisps (already listed as a pet hate) or opening up their box of cold pasta and hummus can make the lives of others passengers hell as the stinking aromas taint their journeys. They certainly have me moving seats.

Do you have any travel pet hates?  Please do leave them in the comments section!

Monday, 3 January 2022

Writing and other goals for 2022

Writing and other Goals for 2022

It's that time of year again where I like to set out my goals for the year ahead. One year often seems to flow into the rest so much of what I intend for this year will just be more of the same and nothing dramatic.

Last year I finally published  'The Colour Of Wednesday' the follow up novel to 'Down The Tubes' and co-edited the Poetry Collection from our Facebook Group 'Don't Go Breaking Our Arts' (for artists and writers with long term conditions and disabilities) with Poet Alan Morrison. 

I also began my next big writing project: an autobiography of sorts, with an angle, which has been exciting and nostalgic to do. It really helped to discover that I can write on my phone in comfort and will sync with my iPad and computer. So all I have to do is copy into a Word document when next on my computer. I spent many a pleasant hour in the summer month in the shade of the beautiful gardens opposite tapping into my phone—doing two things I enjoyed at once. As a consequence I’ve written many thousand words already although I’m nowhere near finished so I may have to break it up into more than one volume. 

I also had one of my poems  ‘Lessons’ published in The Morning Star and I almost completed my Pet Peeves series of blogs; just a couple more to go now. So I’m pretty chuffed with fulfilling most of my writing achievements. 

This year I’m hoping to make a lot more headway with my memoirs, improve on the quality and output of my poetry and do more poetry submissions as well as finishing the Pet Peeves blog and maybe beginning another series of blogs on something completely different. I’m also hoping to find about more about arts council funding. 

Other activities


Hoping to continue with online singing via Zoom which gives much pleasure as well as keeping the old vocal chords oiled. Although I don’t want Coronavirus to continue restricting activities I do want the greater choose and online opportunities that have arisen from the pandemic to continue in perpetuity.


Continuing to collate the stories and information of my Jewish ancestry to honour and remember those who were Holocaust victims. 

Health goals

Last year I did try acupuncture for my hyperhidrosis. I’m not sure it helped a lot but I only had three sessions. It may have helped a bit as the Hyperhidrosis hasn’t been so bad since but that may be the mild weather. Social anxiety is a big trigger and the hyperhidrosis seems to be just as bad in these situations. There are one or two other things to try or retry but with each new thing that doesn't work it's easy to lose hope...

I did continue with the therapy for ME/CFS remotely, but that has ended now. I’m hoping to be accepted for the decode ME study in the new year, the largest of its kind and hope that by partaking in this research it will throw new light on causes and treatments of this debilitating conditions. ME has too long been overlooked and ridiculed.  

At some point I would like to be assessed regarding  neurodiversity. I think a lot of problems I had in childhood were now what we'd call 'on the spectrum'. I know several adults who have been diagnosed late in life and also many women on the spectrum have been under diagnosed because of their ability to 'mask' and 'fit in'.

I obviously have much wider wishes for 2022 that extend to a fairer world and a preserving of our planet but that is too mammoth in scope for my little corner of the Internet...

So it just remains for me to wishing you all a happy and healthy new year!

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Little Guide to Pet Peeves (Pt 7 - Pertaining to Seasons)

I began this 'little guide' for fun regarding some of my personal bête-noires and had hoped to finish it this side of Crimbo. I have two more which will have to be postponed until next year as I like to do goals for the year early January. 

This was intended to be part 8 but as it contains some seasonal references I have decided it will be the last one before Christmas.


Yes, the white stuff. How can it be a pet hate, you ask, it looks so beautiful, big fluffy feathers falling whimsically from the sky and transforming even the most mundane scenery into a magical wonderland. Even your wheelie bin, with its white hat and soft base looks like a treasured thing. And I will concede the best thing about snow IS it’s beauty and is to be captured on film or as a 'still' from your iPhone’s camera, preferably through the window from the warmth of your sitting room to share and delight in when it’s long gone. But that’s where it ends. It’s cold. It turns to slush. It goes grey and filthy. Worse. It becomes a lethal skating rink of cobbled ice, threatening to upend you and have you cold-footing it to A & E to check which of your precious old bones may have fractured. Kids love it, of course, and young couples might find it romantic but post middle age most of us hate it. You have to trust cats on this. They look out on their territory with justifiable suspicion and refuse to venture out in it when the door’s held open for them. They don’t want cold wet stuff on their paws any more than we do.

'Cat' by guvo59 courtesy of pixabay

Meteorological spring (and summer, autumn and winter) 

It’s what BBC weather people say on March 1st, June 1st, September 1st and December 1st respectively. But when I was a gal, Spring began on March 21st, summer on June 21st and so on.

If you do a quick Google you will see that the old way is based on the astronomical seasons based on the earth's position in relation to the sun, while meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle.

Well, you can prefix a season with the word meteorological all you like but it ain’t going to change the seasons. As my birthday is just ahead of the Summer Solstice for instance I have often observed that the real summer weather frequently comes after 21st June. Similarly the real bitterly cold weather frequently occurs from late December onwards. So I’m sticking with the tried and tested.

Fresh Air Fiends*

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a warm breeze or a cool breeze on a stiflingly hot airless summer’s day. But opening windows when it’s winter or forty five degrees Fahrenheit outside? What’s that all about? I can understand people wanting to freshen their sleep-stale rooms for a couple of minutes but there are some people who insist on windows open all the time. They see or feel the central heating is on and insist on throwing a window open whatever the outside temperature. There they are flinging off their cardigans and there’s poor old me, putting on my hat, coat and scarf and after a few minutes asking if anyone minds if I shut the window please, earning me a few odd looks. Are you going down with something do you think, they ask. Well, I will if you leave that darned window open any longer. And don’t get me started on Aircon. I started travelling first class on trains, having found the standard class more and more of a struggle over the years, and with a railcard it was surprisingly reasonable. No longer sparsely populated by men in bowler hats (if it ever was), you also got a complimentary drinks and snacks. But along with that, especially on Cross Country trains, you also got cold air blasted down your neck in February courtesy of the Aircon. I lost count of the times I had to ask the train manager to turn it off or down. Why they think we pay for first class to sit in a arctic blast defies belief.

* This, of course, was written pre-Covid and the importance of getting ventilation in to dilute the virus can't be stated enough.  But for folks like me who have strange body temperatures, we just have to avoid  all this fresh air stuff.

            Blur-1 by Pexels Courtesy of Pixabay

Christmas Songs 

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Frosty The Snowman and all those endless festive tunes that are piped through stores once the Ghosts of Halloween have taken off on their broomsticks.  Of the Christmas pop songs there are one or two notable exceptions - 'Merry Christmas War Is Over' by John and Yoko Ono is a fabulous song of which I never tire (but then I don’t overplay it). Greg Lake ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ is another classic. Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ was once a classic and when it first came out it was iconic. Now it’s just become a raucous cliche.  I suppose the same could be said for many Christmas carols but I’d still rather hear most of them than Slade.

Well, that's all for now and apologies if this all sounds a bit Bah Humbug but I hope you've enjoyed the posts throughout the year and I really do wish you all the best festive season as possible in the current circumstances!  

And all the best for 2022!

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Little Guide To Pet Peeves (Pt 6 - out and about)

I began this 'little guide' for fun regarding some of my personal bête-noires and so here I am again, hoping to finish the series before Crimbo.  This was all written before Covid but since 'opening up', maybe a lot of it has become relevant again.


I’m sure ‘charity muggers’ are unanimously loathed, which is maybe why they’ve largely disappeared from our streets. But at their height, charities would send out over-zealous keen young things to jump in your path or dance in front of you with their clipboards and silly comments. In an aggressive market economy, even charities felt they had to up their game and profits with a sound business plan and a decent pension plan for the CEOs. So out went the humble tin which volunteers shook with the obligatory badges to pin on your lapel to show you’d donated. In came the chuggers with their clipboards and contracts for you to sign since it was no longer enough for you to give one-off donations. I had young men dancing in front of me telling me how nice I looked today (believing flattery would get them everywhere - it didn’t.) I’m afraid I’m the wrong person to mess with however chirpy or good- looking the boy might be. But I think the booby prize has to go to the young girl who shouted half way up the high street as I was advancing, ‘hello lady in green’. What was this supposed to achieve? A sense of flattery that I’d been especially selected from my fellow shoppers or one of embarrassing me into submission? Probably a bit of both but it achieved neither. I scowled into Peacocks to avoid said offending chugger, annoyed with myself for not having a ready retort

Formal Forms of Address

This is the flip side of the informal and nauseating terms of address such as the ubiquitous hun (see Pt 1). But it also irks me to be called Miss Rigby. It’s not just the ultra formality - and, sometimes insincere, politeness - it stems from an archaic time when a woman’s title was largely determined by her marital status. Of course that’s why Ms was invented - to disguise whether you were a Miss or a Mrs. But the pronunciation is always cringey and none more so in a situation when someone asks ‘is that Miss or Mrs?’ forcing you onto the back foot when you mumble in reply ‘Well muzz actually’. It makes you feel like a fussy feminist purist rather than the casual affable laidback person that was in conversation moments before. And leaving off your title is no guarantee of someone not supplying you with one anyway.

Years ago, tired of my local Nat West Bank addressing me as Miss Rigby every time I did a transaction, I got the title removed from my account in the hope that they would dispense with the formalities. But no. They still addressed me as Miss Rigby!

They do it because they can, they’ve got your name and your number – and I didn’t know what to do to stop them. But then I discovered a way of getting my own back. Thank you, Mr Parker. Much obliged to you Mr Parker (Nosy by any chance?) Well, they always had their name tags with first and last name on their lapels.

In the end I had to make a point of saying ‘please, call me Kate’ - which to their credit they did once I’d pointed it out to them. But I’d rather they didn’t call me anything or at least asked me how I liked to be known!

Untrusting Cashiers

Maybe you’ve also had this where you go to the till with an item and it’s not got a price on. The assistant at the till then asks you if you remember how much said item was and you do, you remember clearly, you can visualise all the other same items with their price tag on, it’s just that you happened to pick the one where it somehow got detached or maybe it was never priced in the first place. You tell the assistant that it was 1.75 without wavering and she still rings the bell and calls someone to check the flipping price!

People spreading their germs about in public.

Have people never heard of the saying coughs and sneezes spread diseases? And fair enough, you might expect it in a doctor’s surgery waiting room but what about those martyrs who stagger into work, thinking they’re being heroic and and then infecting the whole damned office with their horrible lurgey? It would have been so much better if they’d just had the common sense to stay off work because infecting half the work force isn’t impressing the boss, especially if he or she is laid up with it for three weeks as a result.

Then there are shops where a snuffling assistant hands you your loose change, the same hand which nanoseconds before handled a snot-filled tissue. This requires the hand gel on hand to smear liberally over your palms before you’ve even left the shop. Or cafes and restaurants. If you’re anything like me you will leave as soon as you get wind of a sniffle or a cough because the last thing you want are those nasty droplets breeding all over your Danish pastry. Or on the trains where there is some oblivious yoof - usually male - sneezing and coughing in the seat in front of you. You catch him using his bare wrist to wipe his snitch. These are probably the worst offenders. They just accept that colds are a part of life and a small inconvenience or price to put up with for that three day music festival camping in a wet field. In the presence of these types my seat is promptly vacated and if I’m lucky I will find another well clear of a non germ-free adolescent.

As mentioned above, this was first penned in pre lockdown and I'm still hopeful that some people have become more aware since we 'opened up' the economy and society post vaccination, but there are many others who many seem to have reverted to type!

Please feel free to share yours in the comments section below. 

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Little Guide To Pet Peeves: Part 5 (On TV)

I began this 'little guide' for fun regarding some of my personal bête-noires and so here I am again, bothering you with another! 

This one will probably only apply to a certain age group who still watch TV in a traditional fashion as opposed to live-streaming or catchup) but then adverts and usual irritants may still apply. 

Playing favourite or nostalgic songs in adverts 

I’m very careful to play my songs sparingly because overplaying can kill that nostalgia. Intros or select phrases of Johnny Cash’s This Thing Called Love, Boston’s More Than A Feeling, Boo Radley’s Wake Up Boo and Stevie Wonder’s For Once In My Life have all been subjected to prime time endless repeats at some point it the past few years or so. So much so, in fact, that I feared it would give me less than a feeling, or would feel this thing called hate whenever hearing Johnny Cash or Stevie Wonder for one too many times in my life. So wake up you advertisers, please, and pick on songs that we all hate already or perhaps some anodyne frothy tune that can lend life to your product.


For the last few years I have called it The Beast (short for Beastenders). It is the worst kind of sound pollution. The number of beasts that populate it several times a week are many and frequent. But the one who epitomises it most has to be Phil Mitchell: white, male, round red face, thuggy, speaking in husky threatening tones in words of one syllable. But the female version is just as grating. She is epitomised by Kat Slater. She shrieks in impossible decibel levels at anything and anybody in TV cockney. In fact, they all prefer to bellow at each other. Peggy Mitchell was one such screecher (pictured below). So why am I even writing about it? Surely I can just give the horror show of dark depressing themes and characters the widest berth imaginable? Not so easy if you share a house with a loved one who is hooked. And my computer just happens to be in the same room as our TV. 

Update: then we chanced upon these problem-solvers called headphones and now peace reigns supreme once more - at least in my earholes anyway. 

Second update: the old TV has been relegated upstairs so now no need even for headphones!

Mrs Brown’s Boys

When I first saw the trailer to this whenever it was I thought ‘that looks funny’ in the manner of Father Ted being funny. Wrong! It very quickly disappointed. A guy dressed as an old washer woman, come on! It’s hardly fresh, is it? It’s so 1970s. I can’t stand that cringy little laugh that comes just after all the credits go up either - just to remind you it’s not quite finished.


Wrong lingo

It does really irk me if slang and colloquialisms in retro TV dramas use the wrong expressions for the time. For instance, 'Call The Midwife', have done it a lot.

In the dramatization 'Des’ about Dennis Nielson, aired in autumn 2020 but set in the 1980s, the expression ‘in case all goes pear-shaped’ really jarred. 

As I write this, 'Ridley Road' has just aired on BBC1 (October 2021). It's supposed to be set in the early 1960s and for the most part the scenery, clothes and backdrop have been very authentic.  But then it let itself down with the postchronistic expressions. In the first episode one of the characters said ‘twenty minutes max’. In the second episode we were given ‘can you share where he is?’ (‘share’ in this context is very transatlantic and millennial) ‘having a right mare’ and ‘why don’t you just do one’. In the third episode we were treated to 'wowsers', 'grow a pair', 'I'm blagging it' and many more, and in the final episode 'bog standard'.   

It's not difficult nowadays to do your research and while we can all forgive the odd bum note, so many of the expressions weren't just a few years out of date, but decades. 

This triggers the same feelings that prompted the first blog (words and phrases) and is shared my many others, judging by the conversations I've had on social media.

Fictional new year ahead of its real life counterpart

I’m not a lover of new year at the best of times. I’ve always been more of a Christmas person and when I was younger it was because I was either always ill or there wasn’t anywhere to go. Now of course it means one year older. Why celebrate the all too swift passage of time? But just homing in on the rituals for a moment, there is something edgy and thrilling about counting out the last ten seconds of the old year in real time - before Big Ben bongs in the new. The operative words here are ‘in real time’. I do not want to see the cast of Beastenders (another pet hate we’ve already visited) or even my favourite Corrie characters singing in the new year with Auld Lang’s Syne a few hours before me. It makes it seem passé and stale by the time me and mine get to do it. So a note to makers of soaps - can you not schedule those scenes to go out on New Year’s Day instead? At least then we can be ahead in real time.

Well, that's all for now. I'll have another - hopefully this side of new year! In the meantime, please do share your own TV bugbears.

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Little Guide to Pet Peeves - Part 4 (Interior decoration and outside spaces)

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I began this 'little guide' for fun regarding some of my personal bête-noires. This one's short and a bit of a rag-tag of ideas. Apologies if your indoor or outside space is guilty as charged.

Metro Tiles

At the time of drafting this 2018-19, I noticed these horrid white tiles springing up everywhere. Especially to be found in bathrooms and kitchens. If you watch TV programmes about selling or improving homes you will see these replacing much more attractive bathroom or kitchen furnishings. But how did they become all the rage? I guess they are supposed to represent a clean minimalist look. But their stark shine makes them more suited to a butcher’s, maybe wiped clean of pig’s blood spatter. Or the functional brittle look of public toilets for easy disinfection or how I imagine the walls of a morgue to look.


Industrial Hedge Cutters

You know the sort; used by people contracted to housing associations and councils to trim public or communal garden areas. You’ll have heard them, often blasting you from your slumber at some unearthly hour with a persistent annoying racket. Whining on and on. And just when you think the hedgecutter has finally been switched off for good, stuttering to a growl, up it will start again, only nearer this time. When you think of wo/man’s endless capacity for improvement and invention, surely it’s not rocket science to come up with a quieter hedge trimmer? Especially now that I’ve identified a gap in the market. You’d think they could invent something ear-friendly!

                                                    Image courtesy Keith Syvinski: 

Royal Blue Walls

That sort of royal blue on walls in bedrooms. You know, Chelsea Blue. I won’t say Everton Blue (even though I’m a Liverpool supporter). I’m not that much of a fan of red walls either but there’s something about that shade of blue on walls that makes me feel a bit, well, blue! OK for kids but nothing worse for anyone else. The fact that I couldn't find an image with said blue walls is testament really. The picture below (which I had to adapt) gives the right shade but not the image in my mind's eye which is usually a cluttered sort of room.


                                            Adapted from an image by Spencer on Unsplash


Indoor furniture in gardens

A comfy settee with soft fabrics just looks wrong in a garden unless it can be packed away in the event of rain or change of season. What’s wrong with good old-fashioned deck chairs or sun loungers with their padded cushions? Surely these are the most sumptuous of outdoor furniture while still being practical? They are lightweight and can be stored away in the summerhouse or shed or conservatory out of season. But now the twenty-teens-and-twenties way is to have a gert big settee on the decking complete with cushions and coffee tables and the rest of it. Yes you can drape covers over them but are they really protected from the elements? They just seem a luxury too far to me.

                                                    Courtesy of Canna Curious Club on Unsplash

Well, that's me. Now over to you. Do share your own bête-noires of the home-and-garden sort!