Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Talking for two

I have a habit that Julie finds annoying - even though she is sometimes guilty of doing precisely the same thing herself.
If I'm out and about and there happens to be someone nearby talking loudly (usually on their phone), then I'll often pretend I'm taking part in the conversation. The beauty of this is that the other person is so wrapped up in what they are saying that they don't realise I'm right next to them taking the piss.

Today, I was taking a gentle stroll along the seafront with Julie. We had just crossed the road, and were passing a couple who were discussing something or other. As is so often the case with even a quiet conversation, odd words or phrases float out and catch your attention. This time, though, Julie was there and was talking too...

Wait, what? I stared at Julie, and asked why she thought the woman we had just passed would have been concerned about a local sporting event.
As it turned out, Julie hadn't intended to give this impression. She just happened to comment upon a sign at precisely the moment the 'concerned' woman move out of earshot.
And confused the hell out of me.

If you want a true masterpiece of talking at cross purposes, though, you would be hard-pressed to find a better example than this clip by comedy duo The Two Ronnies.

Monday, 28 January 2013

The Great Irish Pizza Palaver

It all began innocently enough.

Julie and me were out for the day and had stopped in a cafe for a cup of tea. Known as Number 48, this cafe in Bexhill is a veritable delight for someone like me. Not only is it one of the few that offer the option of soy milk (as I am lactose intolerant, it's a help), but they also open in the evenings to have music and food nights. You pay an entry fee, and that gets you in to see the music - anything from country and western through to mod and folk - and a nice meal into the bargain. Sometimes the food is a curry, other times a lasagne or a cottage pie. I like folk music, and was interested (and amused) to see a billing for a 'traditional Irish folk band; The Leprechauns'.

No stereotyping there, obviously (cough, cough).
The food on offer that night is to be - you guessed it - Irish stew. I quite like Irish stew when it's done properly, but I will be honest and admit that the best I have tasted was when in Ireland. What I didn't know was if Julie had tried it.

Oh dear.
Then a thought struck me. You can have an almost infinite combination of toppings on a pizza, so who was I to pooh-pooh the notion of there being an 'Irish pizza'? I have to admit though that my mind shied away from a couple of possible ingredients. Black pudding (aka blood sausage in some parts of the world), white pudding and potatoes are all very tasty in various dishes. The idea of plonking them atop a stodgy bread base, however, just doesn't do anything for me.

Google to the rescue.

A few options came up, but most were essentially combining the words 'Irish' and 'pizza' in the description of an eatery, rather than the creation of a specific dish. The closest thing I could find was something on the recipe site The Daily Meal.
More worrying was a link to Urban Dictionary. For those not aware of this site, it provides definitions for slang and 'street' terms. You can see why I was a tad wary of going there.
But go I did.
Oh hell.

There were two definitions. The first was a 'pizza pie doused in whiskey' - which sounds vile. This wasn't as troubling as the second definition, though.


********* UPDATE! *********

Many thanks to Scribe (who also felt the need to comment below) for actually managing to find a half-decent pan pizza recipe with a strong and genuine Irish theme.

Made with a potato farl base, this actually seems doable and tasty...
Fancy a go? Pop along to Tangled Noodle and have a gander at the recipe...

Saturday, 26 January 2013

The source of all Gems?

Julia, a friend of mine who has been source of some Gems herself (usually indirectly, I will confess), posted something of Facebook today. This something was a series of diagrams showing hitherto unknown organs of the body, all responsible for some rather specific functions. For example, there is the 'cinema bladder', the one that is responsible for not being able to hold any fluid beyond a sip or two.

There are others, but the one that really caught my eye was the 'posterior nervous system'.

Obviously, this is going to be abnormally large in the human sub-species known as 'politicians', but surely this should go some way to explaining how Julie can come up with bon mots such as 'I would have kissed you, but your face was in the way.'

To see the rest of these new discoveries (originally courtesy of College Humor), visit here. Thanks again, Julia!

Friday, 25 January 2013

A difference in the safe zone

Fancy a curry? I know I do. Let's get the takeout menu and work out what we want, OK?
Let's see. I'll have pilau rice, chicken achari and some popadoms. How about you, Julie?
Julie? Do you know what you want?

Oo-kayy... You're phoning this one through then.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The worms that turned... into something else.

Our family, as a rule, are very friendly towards wildlife. My mum has a large garden, and birdwatching is a hobby. It makes sense, then, to attract birds to the garden. At the far end, there is a pond, designed to attract various animals, insects and birds especially. One of my father's happiest and proudest moments was when a passing heron decided to drop in and inflict a massive casualty rate on the amphibian population. As I was quick to remind him though, just because the pond works for attracting wildlife, the bamboo he had planted nearby was very unlikely to tempt any pandas...

The more common means of getting birds to drop in is by a number of feeders, offering different types of foods. Seeds, nuts and fat balls.
Yes, let's get the sniggering out of the way shall we? This is what I'm talking about.

Balls of nuts, seeds, and or bits of various invertebrates, moulded into a spherical shape and held together by  fat.
Whenever we visit, we always try and take along some supplies, just so the birds don't go hungry. We're kind like that. However, asking for these supplies does tend to make for awkward conversations. Asking if someone 'wants fat balls' in a public place is guaranteed to earn you a nervous look or two.
Especially if you add the word 'Mum' to that sentence.
It's not all balls, though. There are also fat blocks, which are most usually filled with mealworms or insects. There are others, though. Some have fruit, some have seeds, but those aren't wanted.

Thus is was that Julie was out browsing some shops, and happened to go into one place that had a section for bird food. Once the obligatory muttered conversation about 'fat balls' was out of the way, Julie tried to find out just which of the different blocks on offer were the ones wanted by Mum.
And then the confusion set in.

I very nearly asked if they actually had blocks with ringworm, but then I decided I wasn't all that interested in finding out and rather hurriedly dropped the whole conversation...

Monday, 21 January 2013

Timey-wimey went all wibbly-wobbly

Every now and then, I find there isn't a lot I can say to explain or pad out the details of a Gem. This is one of those occasions.
Essentially, there was a little confusion over what the time was, and Julie had read a clock wrongly. Unfortunately, her reasoning for her failure was rather more 'fail' than 'reason'...

Even now, neither of us can work out just what she meant.

Friday, 18 January 2013

You're just not listening, are you?

I'll be honest. Sometimes, when Julie goes off on one of her verbal rambles, I tend to tune out. This is especially true if I'm trying to read.
What I didn't realise, though, is that I'm not alone in this. Apparently, Julie also tends to pay very little attention to what she is saying...

Now, the keen-minded among you will realise that this means that a simple (but possibly foolhardy) application of logic will tell you that someone else may well be paying attention. This is true. Mind you, that other person may also be Julie.
Don't ask.
Just don't.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

From a far-flung phylum

You may have noticed a trend here; I have been referencing previous Gems in new posts. The reason for this is simple - when Julie and me talk about the Gems, she tends to go ahead and Gem it up once more, but in a totally new way.

For example, here is the tale of a certain caterpillar... He's not a very hungry caterpillar, but he was an explorer, and had found his way onto my sleeve.
A few weeks ago, I was looking through my notes and we were talking about this occasion. Julie, however, referred to the poor creature as something completely different.

Well, yes... There's nothing like narrowing it down, is there?

Monday, 14 January 2013

Vegetarian Pork II - revenge of the pigs

WAY back when, in the dawn of our existence, before I started adding fun images to the Gems, Julie came up with a question about vegetarian pork. Little did I know that my darling wife was channelling a truth that was even stranger than fiction...

Ladies and gentlemen, I have the dubious honour of presenting to you actual vegetarian pork - but chicken flavour!

Courtesy of Lamyong, a company that specialises in vegetarian foods, this has to be the most confused delicacy in the world...

According to the product page, these are the ingredients:

Water, vegetable oil, textured Soy Protein (27%), whey protein, wheat flour, salt, soy sauce, vegetarian seasonings 
Contains soybeans, gluten and dairy. May contain traces of nuts and seeds.

Now, what gets me is that I showed the allergy warning to Julie, and she reckoned that they must come from the pigs' bones. Apart from the possible nuts, that is...

Monday, 7 January 2013

Scenes from a cafe

Sorry about the absence. It's been a crappy time.
Here's something to ease our way back into your hearts - although I have to admit to pinching this wholesale from one of my friends on Facebook.

I have posted stuff from before, the site that provides a does of idiots, bigots and lunatics, all masquerading as customers. Today, I bring you fresh insights from a friend who works in a cafe.

Would you like milk or cream with your coffee sir?
"Yes please"

"Black coffee please"
There you go madam
"Could I have some milk please"
You said black coffee madam...
"Yes but I want milk in it..."

"Latte please"
"I cant drink this coffee its too milky"

"I don't want this scone, its knobbly. I want a more even shaped one."

"I would like another cup of coffee, this one is all frothy" 
But you asked for a Cappuccino sir...

"Could you clear that table please?"
Can't you sit at one of the 8 tables around it that don't need clearing?

"Oh hello...ooh..what shall I have (after being in the queue 5 minutes) ooh that looks nice, oh so does that..ooh I shouldn't really ( 4 people behind her) I'll have a slice of that. Oh no I better not, Id better have a sandwich because I have to pic Jessica up from swimming then Tarquin up from fencing and I shall be starving" (6 people behind her) 
What drink can I get you while you decide madam?
"Ooh, er..I'll have a, er, ooh, a latte...oh no I'll have a cappuccino so I can have chocolate on top (7 people behind) I shouldn't really if being just after Xmas and all but I will because little Charles has kept me running around all day because my nanny is on holiday, but can I have skinny milk? Oh and would you put it in a cup not a mug." (9 people behind her..tapping their feet)
Have you decided what you would like to eat?
"Yes, I'll have a cheese and ham sandwich. Is it lean ham? Only I hate fat, could chef trim it?"
Yes madam
"oh lovely. Thank you. What cheese is it? Is it proper cheddar? Its not that ready sliced cheese is it?"
No madam its mature cheddar. Anything else for you?
"Um, ah, oh shall I take a cake for my husband ooh er...oh I can't decide.. (11 people loosing the will to live)...
[This happens every time she comes in]

"Do you have tea spoons?"
Yes, they are in the basket in front of you, six inches from your right hand.

"Do you have serviettes?"
Yes, they are in the basket by the teaspoons...

"What coffees do you serve?"
They are listed on the 3 foot high black board on the wall directly behind and above my head.

"I'd like a prawn sandwich please with the crusts cut off"

"I say this sandwich is a bit small!"
That's because its missing its crusts sir..

"I'd like a breakfast but with no sausage and no bacon"
Would you like a vegetarian breakfast madam?
"No thank you, I want the full English without the meat.."
...yes, madam...

"Can I have a vegetarian breakfast with extra bacon please?"
Would you prefer a normal full English?
"Oh no, I don't eat sausages, I don't eat pork."
Yes, sir. How much bacon would you like?..

So - I think you can see just why my friend likes to let off some steam every now and then.