15 minutes with Upstart Crow and a large head

Really thrilled to have had tickets for a show up the West End last weekend. Weather was awful – Storm Dennis had arrived – and undaunted, yet well wrapped in rain kit, thick gloves and a rather pretty scarf, we caught a fast train and before we could say Shakespeare and all that is jolly, we were in London.

Being early we headed to Trafalgar Square and mooched around the National Gallery where inspiration was high and my purse was lightened through purchasing some paints, brushes and painting book in the lovely shop. I add at this point they are still in the bag. My other purchase was a teeny-tiny puzzle. 10cmx15cm, of Van Gogh’s Wheatfield – that’s a whole other blog along the lines of 150 pieces of hair-pulling.

Next stop was the National Portrait Gallery which just blew my mind – another blog.

Back to our show, Upstart Crow. Love the TV series with David Mitchell and Gemma Whelan, and as soon as the show was announced I pounced and purchased tickets.

If you’ve not seen the show or heard about it, it’s written by Ben Elton and is about Shakespeare and his family and friends, moving between Stratford-Upon-Avon and London. At this point of his life, Mr S is successful and writing plays, but often enough it’s the people around him providing the best lines or titles of plays etc. as they go about day to day living. Cleverly the dialogue, for show and TV series, incorporates modern-day problems, from love, to transport, to politics, to gender-equality using Olde Worlde scenarios.  Just brilliant.

So, what’s with the big head then? Well, in the theatre a very nice gentleman sat in front of me, who I swear is taller than Nelson’s column because all I could see of the play was the occasional actor as they moved beyond the heads perimeter. I am not head shaming anybody, or tall shaming anybody, it’s just what it is, and was unfortunate for me.

This little sketch might give you an idea of what I saw of the show – as well as an idea of how badly I draw and would explain why the paints and brushes are still in the bag.

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Photo – all mine, copyright exists, but why anybody would want to use this image is beyond me

 

 

15 minutes – hovering above the loo seat

Photo credit: HERE Piqsels

Cutting straight to it, there is nothing that makes my skin recoil more than sitting on a wet toilet seat, at work! Or anywhere for that matter. Oh man, just gross. And exactly what happened to me this past week. Ideally not something to share, but there you go, it’s been shared.

Having wiped and gagged and vacated the cubicle, I was immediately taken back to being probably no more than a toddler or just older. Out with my Nan shopping or something, desperate for the loo – on that note, as this seems to be all about sharing, my bladder has always been about the size of a postage stamp with the loo being a close friend. So, out with my Nan, me needing a wee-stop, into the public loo we went and having surveyed the facilities and deeming them OK to use, Nan instructed me to not sit down, but rather hover over the seat.

Really! How on earth does one hover over the toilet? Levitate? Throw my legs up and have Nan hold me under the armpits while hoping of all hope the toilet is under me? However it was or happened, I don’t recall wet feet or hem of dress so one can only assume it was a successful visit.

Actually, the more I think about stupidy and the loo, I can also remember trying to hover over the loo, only as a much older person – likely a teenager. At least at that stage, there was no need for somebody to hold me under the arms to navigate position.  No, on those occasions – because as established I could never wait until reaching home – the routine was to hoick up clothing and attempt a balancing act that required pretty darn good core strength while keeping skin from the seat.

I think that’s enough about the loo for today, and indeed forever

 

 

 

15 minutes in the airport lounge

woman in white top and denim jeans sitting on red luggage bag
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

So, there I was, Cape Town airport lounge. Glass of bubbles emptied. Cranberries and cheese and a tiny brownie consumed. Now to wait. What to do?

TV has cricket on. BORING 101. Wondering how to switch to the WWE channel without being noticed. Quick check out of the immediate surroundings and no remote to be seen. Damn it. Now I can’t infuriate my fellow travellers with some overacting, angry faces, ripped bodies and terrible storylines, and a little bit of wrestling every now and again. Heavy sigh.

grayscale photography of wrestler on field
Photo by Mike González on Pexels.com

Instead, I find myself interested in fellow travellers. To my left and slightly behind there are a group of young people – probs about 6. Am I awful for hoping they aren’t on my flight? Nothing against them personally, only they are very happy and chatty when they could do with putting a sock in it – when sleep is calling that is.

Just behind them is a gent who filled his plate with grub, a bit like a squirrel prepping for winter. To the right is a slightly older couple, both plugged into their phones, an array of empty glasses close by.

Directly in front of me, a young gent is almost horizontal on his chair. To be fair he is quite tall, legs like an octopus, feet as large as an elephant. The chair is far too small for him, he needs a lounger. He too is plugged into a phone. He had a friend who has gone awol.

To my left, there is a gent clearly in the process of immigrating from South Africa. His phone is attached to his ear and his mouth is working ninety to the dozen trying to explain how he needs to sell his house and needs his original matric certificate and how he still thinks SA is for retirement, but can still go 50-50 in a property deal in SA if need be. He also shared a bit about somebody who is welcome to visit but not with somebody else. Now he is on ex-pat tax. Sell and invest apparently is the way to go. He is a thirsty chap, pouring tumblers of something down his gullet. Not surprising with all the chatter he is doing. For the love of all chatter, now he is advising on doing AirBnB. I think I need to check out what he is drinking. Oh no, he tells me, err sorry his caller, he is a family with no cousins – pass me a tissue I’m about to weep and sob my way onto my flight.

Flipping heck waiting for a flight is boring.  Not even people-watching is making it enjoyable. One thing that is evidently clear is the mobile phone/Cellphone has taken over life.

Mini rant – put the phone down and pick up a book. Because quite frankly I don’t give a flying hoot about your personal life. Keep it to yourself. Let’s go back to the old landline.

What do you do while waiting for a flight?

antique close up cord dial
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

15 minutes with Cape Town

So today, my ninth day in Cape Town, it is time to say farewell – for now. I’ll be back. You can’t keep me away.

Despite knowing my return will be soon, my heart is sore and it will be a tough one. Time to man-up, or should that be woman-up, and enjoy my family and diarise my arrival date once more. That’s the best way to deal with the goodbye, have a date of arrival up and ready.

Time here has been superb. Been out to a few nice places and ate far too much. The heat generally is a bit of a no-no, even when living here, but this visit it was a little too much too soon, no doubt after spending a LOT of time in the chilly old UK. Sweating, flipping heck, you’d think there was no liquid left in my body.

Went to Boschendal for lunch – love this place, can’t come here without going there. Stunning day, simple yet delicious food – baby marrow griddle cakes, poached egg, whipped goats cheese and a green salad with a tangy-sweet dressing, courtesy of The Deli. I did have a photo, but it’s crap. And of course a perfect, chilled glass of wine.

Went to the Mount Nelson for morning High Tea – oh my goodness, amazing food, amazing place, another favourite to visit when here. Here is a photo taken from The Nellies web – thank you Nellie. And yes, it is just like this image, if only you could scratch it and smell it.

nelson tea

Went to Protege in Franschhoek. Again, superb food, brilliantly hot day. We did the Reduced menu (4 courses), which was in all honesty too much for such a hot day, but you know what, if you are there, you’ve just got to do it! Had a nice glass of bubbles there too. Actually, I digress slightly, was with my daughter who was having her nails done at 10am at the Waterfront, Battery Park, when a lady came in, jeans, cap, long tresses, made up to the nines. “Would you like a drink,” the receptionist asked.

“Yes, please,” she said.

“Sparkling or still water,” the receptionist said.

“Oh,” the glam gal said. “Sparkling. Sparkling wine.”

A little chuckle to myself, but you know what if you’re offered, why not have it. Needless to say she enjoyed that glass of sparkling wine while being pampered, and quite honestly I would have taken the sparkling wine too.

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photo borrowed from Protege – thank you Protege

Back to Protege. The reduced menu started with a plate of snacks, which were almost enough to not need another morsel to pass my lips. Again, I wish there was a photo of the food, but go look at the site to get an idea. Here is the menu:

SNACKS

Sourdough, chicken butter, biltong, olives, confit garlic

Edamame beans, sriracha and sesame

Korean fried chicken, coriander, buttermilk

STARTERS

 Miso seared Tuna, Spiced squid, crisp jalapeno, avocado

OR

Beetroot Tart, smoked olive, semi-dried tomato, capers, sage, goats cheese

OR

Kerala style Kingklip, labneh, pickles, curried sultana

OR

Confit Pork roti, kimchi, miso aubergine, Ponzu mayonnaise, pickled cucumber

MAINS

 Cauliflower risotto, chermoula, dukkah

OR

Springbok loin, red cabbage, baby spinach, smoked pomme puree, stone fruit

OR

Linefish, salsa verde, sweetcorn, Cape Malay relish

Or

Karoo lamb rump, caponata, Jerusalem artichoke, herb soubise, Peri peri

DESSERT

 Cheese selection and homemade preserves

OR

Dark chocolate cocoa bean, peanut, pistachio and raspberry

OR

Mango, pineapple, coconut and meringue

One last stop to eat too much, La Belle for breakers at the Alphen. Last meal of indulgence before steamed fish and veggies becomes the norm for a few weeks.

la belle

Photo borrowed from La Belle at The Alphen– Constantia – thank you La Belle

So there you are, loads of food, there were other places too only these were the highlights.

What else is good while here? Well I feel healthier, happier and more creative. Hmm, so how can I get around all that back in the UK? Good question, and one to ponder. Only not today. Nope, noppity-no, today is about enjoying and being with the people I love.

Au Revoir Cape Town . . . see you again soon.

 

 

15 minutes with a Pirate colleague

There’s long been a suspicion in the household of how the Hubster doesn’t really pay as much attention to me as perhaps he should do. Case in point was this past week.

“Hey, Hubster,” I said, my phone roughly three inches from his nose. “Look at this photo of where I was today.”

He’s always keen to hear about my day at work, and as that particular day had taken us to play Pirate Crazy Golf, part of a team-building/getting-to-know-you/building-relationships day with colleagues, it was sure to be a better conversation than the normal one along the lines of.

Hubster. “How was your day?”

Me. “Same old, same old. This one did this, that one did that, I got lost in the warehouse again, lunch was yet another baked potato with tuna, blah, blah, blah, I came home.”

Hubster. “Right. Coffee or tea?” – a euphemism for, well that was bloody boring, let’s move on.

So back to the phone, settled inches from his nose, displaying a superb digital image that with all likeliness will never be seen again.

“Oh,” the Hubster, says, completely genuinely, no jokes, no nothing. “He looks a bit stiff, is that one of your colleagues?”

“WHAT?” I said – phone dropped to my lap, chin on chest, eyes wider than a 10lt casserole dish. “Are you serious? How can that be a colleague?”

Take a look, let me know what you think.

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This blog has no theme other than to allow me 15 minutes to put a blog together. Thank you for visiting

15 minutes with a Nun in Newport Pagnell

nun driving

Photo borrowed from HERE

So, there I was last week. Heading home from work. Took the back route that would lead me along winding, leafy, country roads. The type that has me sucking in air as I belt around a bend only to find myself swinging the steering wheel so my tyres touch gravel, and my paintwork takes on scratches as a gigantic 4×4 – actually I think it was a mini – on that note, MINI! who are they kidding? They are beasts. Certainly a vehicle on steroids. As I was saying a 4×4, err Mini, crosses my lane.

Back to the Nun. Well before I thrashed my way through the home counties there was a need to navigate Newport Pagnell’s High Street and its several roundabouts – circles to my SA friends. I digress once more. Is there anywhere in the solar system with more roundabouts/circles than Milton Keynes and any other town/village within a 10-mile radius?  Focus, Ruth. Newport Pagnell – home of amazing Aston Martin – High Street. Right, so about halfway up the street, my lovely Google Maps announces.

“Take the first exit at the roundabout and continue straight.” Perfect.

At said roundabout/circle I pause and give way to a sparkling, clean car, driven by a Nun, who from sight I would guess be around her 134th birthday marker. Seated next to her is also an elderly lady, not quite so old – I’m guessing about 127? Or thereabouts. Said Nun with a bestie in a smart hat at her side, inches sparkling car across the roundabout, completely forgetting the need to turn the steering wheel while keeping comfortably shoed foot on the accelerator until literally the last minute when she came practically to a halt, and I swear her next move would require a 3-point-turn.

I winced, and then cheered for Nunny to keep on moving that car, and all but got out with a mind to suggesting I complete the roundabout/circle for her. Suffice to say, divine intervention, or at least a little twitch of the hands on the steering wheel, and a flick of a foot to a pedal, and she was off and away.

And there endeth my tale of a Nun in Newport Pagnell.

 

This blog has no theme and is here purely for me to type for 15 minutes on anything that catches my eye. Thank you for reading and popping by

 

 

 

15 minutes with a don’t tell the hubster and ice-cream licker

woman dropped fail failure
Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

 

If you know my hubster, please don’t let on I’ve purchased yet ANOTHER jacket! I hasten to add he doesn’t curtail my spending, rather it’s the number of jackets I have that will raise his right eyebrow.

But you know a girl/woman just has to have a jacket for all seasons – well that’s my defence m’lud.

OK, so this one made me want to scream EEEEEEEEEWWWWWWW!!!! Apparently, a young American woman took the lid off a tub of ice-cream – in a shop – and then put it back in the freezer for some poor person to purchase. For the love of all goodness in this world, what was she thinking? Kinda would have been nice if she’d tumbled into the freezer, feet to the sky, head amongst a mound of waffles and mixed berries.

There is video evidence of her, and you can read/see all about it HERE. And again HERE

I wonder how we will all feel about tackling an ice-cream this coming weekend then? Might be a big fat, err, PASS on that one, thank you very much

 

 

 

 

 

This blog has no theme other than to allow me 15 minutes to put a blog together. Thank you for visiting

 

15 minutes snoring, talking, flying

animal close up donkey
Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

It took an economy class, twelve-hour flight, no frills attached and supplied bum squashing seat to get me to Cape Town. British Airways, thank you so much for having a direct flight. Leaving me free of frantic stopovers where you end up running like a loon for a flight only to arrive at the gate flushed to the hilt, sweat pouring from places it should never pour from, begging for oxygen. Done that before. With the hubster. A stopover in Dubai. During that mad time when the fog was playing havoc – who knew Dubai had fog? – certainly not me. On our approach, the pilot and head flight attendant had announced words to the effect of.

“Tough lot you lot, chances are you’ll miss your connecting flights, but don’t worry you’ll get a free food voucher that will cover a big mac and some fries that with luck will plug your sobbing gob while waiting twenty-four hours for a next flight. As to me, well hey-ho, I’m heading home for feet up, glass of wine – is that allowed? – and a healthy meal that won’t leave my arteries straining. Hope you have enjoyed your flight, and hope to see you soon. Oh yes, to claim said voucher, keep your eyes open for the longest queue on the planet, and you’ll be in the right place.” And all in the sweetest, corporate tone that does nothing to satisfy a frazzled flyer. No, rather it’s more about gnawing the inflight magazine and wondering if you could get away with ankle tapping the cabin assistant when they next pass with a laden tray of plastic cups of juice and water.

Restraint in place, suffice to say we made our flight, along with with probs twenty others. We launched ourselves from the stationary plane, en masse, cabin luggage flaying as our feet hit the ground and the sprint for the gate begun. I swear it was like Moses with the sea as those waiting in the departure lounge parted with haste, if not from fear of the stampede as sweaty, day-old clad folk of all ages, belted like the clappers, eyes wide with panic, caring little of odd shoes and socks and underpants being dropped as we surged forward and descended on our respective departure gates.

Hubster and I, barely able to speak, slammed into our seats and hoped of all hope that oxygen masks would release, only to be told there would be a forty-five minute delay due to . . . FOG. Restraint, Ruth. Restraint.

Back to BA, while I am eternally grateful for said direct flight, sadly you haven’t banned snoring passengers. Just saying, but you really should add a snoring capacity to your booking process.

It could be a simple tick box, with an algorithm along the lines of:

Do you snore?

Yes. I don’t know. No

If NO, go to ‘continue with your booking’

ELSE IF, I don’t know, go to

‘Good try, however, YOU HAVE BEEN BLACKLISTED FROM OUR BOOKING SYSTEM. THINK ABOUT GETTING YOUR BIG FAT SNORTING NOSE FIXED.’

ELSE IF, YES, go to

“WE’RE NOT WASTING OUR TIME ON EXPLAINING THIS. NO SEATS AVAILABLE. TODAY, TOMORROW, EVER.’

Suffice to say the traveller to my left, a nice, polite, reasonable young man until he fell asleep was a mild snorer. Now, when said seat occupant is not your spouse, partner or whatever, you can hardly thump them and whisper loudly to shut the flucking shells up.

However, what you can do is tell people to shut the flucking shells up.

Being roused from sleep and having attempted to cover my ear with the thin, oh so very thin and itchy blanket, and even bunched my fist and pushed it in my ear, there was no blocking a LOUD American chap sharing his political views to an elderly English couple, who being English were politely agreeing and not managing to get a word in edgewise.

Breaking cover of my blanket I twisted my neck and settled eyes on the three of them. There they were standing in the spare area up by the toilets. I gave them a few minutes to shut the flipping heck up, and then that was it. Blanket flung, fight with the seatbelt to free myself, earphones untangled – how the heck do they manage to get around everything – neck cushion still in situ, up I get, march to them and ask them very politely to “tone it down a bit.”

The elderly lady offers a genuine apology and after my loo break – well I was in the area after all – I head back to my seat.

I should add, that on arrival and heading towards immigration I spied the elderly couple ahead. Their pace was gradual yet sufficient to allow a blue tog bag to gain momentum and gently swing. Hmmm, should I take this moment to increase my pace, reach them and offer an apology? For, to be honest, I was feeling much like a grumpy old cow. My heart said yes, go for it and I closed in, a little like a leopard stalking, waiting for the moment to leap. Edging in, just as my hand was about to raise and the words were on my tongue, I dropped back.

Suddenly I was aware of how sometimes you just have to let things go. But more so. Yes, more so, if said elders were tired and irritable, chances were the mild swinging of luggage could pick up momentum to warp speed and flatten me.

Oh the joys of flying.

 

 

NB this one took a bit longer than 15 mins.

This blog has no theme other than to allow me a place to write for 15 minutes. Thank you for popping by

15 minutes of our community Facebook page

selective focus photo of brown monkey
Photo by Arindam Raha on Pexels.com

So often amazed at what the local community posts on our Facebook page.

This one is today:

Hi Good morning all wonder if anyone has had a wisdom tooth with complications removed in hospital. Really worried as I have been told it carries risks. The Tooth has been laying dormant with no trouble for many years and I have no pain now But apparently its laying flat on its side with the nerve running over the tooth. to say Im anxious is an understatement. Any light would be much appreciated thanks in advance.xx

Surely the old dentist should be advising on this one. And really, is that a local community issue? And kisses? A little over-familiar would you say?

So far I’ve not replied to ones along the lines of:

Good morning. Sorry to be a pain, but does anyone know for definite whether XXXX is serving gluten-free fish and chips this coming Monday 1st July? 
Thanks.

Really, they can’t pick up the phone and call and ask themselves?

fried meat beside sliced lemon and white mustard
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

There’s also a lot of moaning about how people park in the High Street, how Sainsbury’s is not welcome and how sheep are escaping from fields. Actually, there was a post recently regarding a fox sauntering through a field of sheep and lambs – which was to be fair a little worrying.

focus photo of brown sheep under blue sky
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

There’s also a lot and I mean a lot of moaning about weekend visitors to the local country park leaving a mess. Now, yes agreed, some do leave a mighty mess. But instead of writing on the page, why not go and moan at the people in the park. Man up, speak up.

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. WINGE, WINGE WINGE

 

This blog has no theme other than to allow me a place to write for 15 minutes. Thank you for popping by