Reasons why it's best not to start a relationship with a crisp packet

It was as I was marking script after script after script after flamin' script that I thought, 'I know! Why not liven life up and write a blog post about a crisp packet?'

So now the marking is finished, CUE THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS AND PASS ME THE CHARDONNAY, I'm here to inflict my crisp packet story on you.

It just shows how bored I was, because I'm sure I remember saying to myself once, 'Fran, if you ever find yourself writing about a crisp packet, that's the time to pursue a different hobby.'
But, as you all know, taking my own advice was never my best skill.

Anyway, you can't say I didn't warn you that this post wasn't going to be exactly Dostoyoevsky-(I-had-to-check-my-bookshelf-for-the-spelling)-esque.

So now's your moment. Crime and Punishment, or Fran's crisp packet story?

Thank you, dear reader, for staying. Just for you, then ...

So, there I was, the other morning, standing at the bus stop. The bus stop is, after all, the place where most epic tales begin. Dostoyoevsky (flip, had to scroll back up to check the spelling AGAIN) didn't seem to know this. Well, stuff Russia as a setting, that's what I say. You can have one too many Russian ballrooms and fields full of bent-backed peasants.

Back to the story.

There was this crisp packet, from henceforth the main character in this tale, lying near the bus stop. I think I'll call him Crispovichovsky. The bus stop is by someone's front garden, and the crisp packet had been discarded in the bushes, right there by my feet. It looked pretty incongruous, a bright pink 'prawn cocktail flavour' packet, nestled in amongst the shrubbery with its pinkness, like a flasher awaiting an opportunity.

Crispovichovsky (shoot, now I'm having to even check how I spelled THAT, too) and I were old friends. I say old; I mean we'd been eyeing each other up for three consecutive days, and in the life of a crisp packet and a 48 year old near-menopausal woman, that's quite a relationship. Crispovichovsky (I jolly well wish I hadn't started this) had caused me some consternation. The first day I'd spotted him, I'd just thought, 'Stupid litter-droppers - why do they have to spoil the environment?', but had instantly looked away, as it was fairly windy, and I thought I could be sure that Crispovichovsky would be blown away somewhere else well before I got there again the following morning. There was no need for me to do anything about it, then ...

The following morning, Crispovichovsky was still there, as pink as ever. He had obviously got lodged in those bushes. His whole body language said, 'I'm going to be stuck here until someone picks me up and puts me in the rubbish bin.' I tried not to look. I thought, 'why should I pick up someone else's dirty crisp packet? There isn't even a bin here. I'd have to put it in my bag. The crisp packet is dirty. My bag is clean.' I stared really hard in the direction from which I was expecting the bus to arrive. A breeze rustled Crispovichovsky and now he had a voice. 'Pick me up,' he seemed to whisper, and although it's been so long since someone said that to me, and therefore tempting as an offer even though he was just a potato crisp receptacle, I shut my ears to his pleas. The bus came, by now the metaphorical equivalent of a lance-bearing knight on a white charger, and on I got. I didn't look back.

On the third day (and you know what happens on Third Days), Crispovichovsky looked brighter and more garish and more obvious than ever. I'm sure he was bigger. As I glared at him, cross that he had survived yet another night, I remembered that, on Jesus' Third Day, the power of God had rolled a giant stone away from the tomb so that Jesus could get out. Well, I was very tempted to do the opposite and push a large boulder right on top of Crispovichovsky so that he couldn't.

But I knew, deep down, that I wasn't going to. I couldn't ignore the signs any longer. I was beginning to think this was all meant to be. Yes, Crispovichovsky and I were meant for each other. After all, there'd been storms, high winds and heavy rain - plenty of chance for him to get whisked away and out of my life - and still Crispo (it's no good, he's getting a diminuitive) had survived to meet me again.

No, Crispo needed rescuing. And I was The Chosen One.

So now all I had to do was work out how it was going to happen. Crispo was wet, slimy and had leaves attached to him. (As you can see, the divine analogy breaks down a bit here.) And yet, there was no bin at the bus stop. My school bag had kids' homework in it. I didn't want to carry Cris (sorry, chum) in one hand onto the bus. ('Hey, there's that woman again, the one who's always doing strange things on the bus. Now she's carrying empty crisp packets around. Someone tell the driver before she starts eating olives or pressing the bell with her bosoms.')

Then I remembered my school bag had a front zip compartment with nothing in it. I'd have to put him in there.

So I bent down to pick him up.

URRRGGHHH! There was something INSIDE!

I dropped him back into the bush. (Oh, brother, now anyone passing in a car would be thinking, 'Look at that awful woman, throwing her crisp packet into the bushes. Some people. Hey, doesn't she teach our Amelia?')

What could it be? A slug? A snail? More wet leaves? What else gets thrown in bushes. Oh no! Could it be a ... a ... a ... condom? Eeeuurgghh.

But now, I was committed. Whatever was in that packet, C.R. and I were now soulmates, and whatever he was carrying, it was now my burden too. (He ain't heavy, he's my crisp packet ... la la la.)

I bent and picked him up again, quickly turned him upside down, and out fell ....

yes, out fell ....

yes, out fell ....

prawn cocktail crisps.

Yes, yes, I know. It just wasn't what I was expecting. Who would, from a prawn cocktail crisp packet? Can you blame me?

And, of course, they were wet crisps, which is what made them so weighty.

But now, instead of a pink packet lying in the dirt, there was a rather forlorn pile of crisps. But at least they would be blow-away-able or biodegradable, which are big words, and labels I'd be proud of if I were a slice of fried potato.

I placed C carefully in the front packet of my bag ready for when I got to work and found a bin. We were both pretty happy, to tell the truth. After all, he'd been sitting there in someone's bush for three days being ignored by passers-by, the packaging world's equivalent of a hobo, and I'd been doing my best not to see him, so that I didn't have to do anything about him. And now my conscience was clear.

When I got to work, I placed him carefully in the bin. I wasn't sure how to say goodbye to c. After all, we had shared a lot together. But there was always the risk that, if I did the big emotional parting thing, someone would walk in and wonder why I was talking to a crisp packet.

Then again, bearing in mind what my work colleagues already know about me, maybe they wouldn't have turned a hair.

I just stood by the bin for a while, crossed myself, thought of singing a hymn, thought better of it, and whispered, 'RIP Crispovichovsky'.

(Damn and blast it, that was a long scroll-up, but respect is respect, I suppose.)


  1. I'm just trying to get over the fact someone would actually EAT prawn flavored crisps. YUK.

    No wonder El Crispo was lying in the bushes, he was a disgusting fish flavored snack.

    Fantastic post. Off to read some Dostoyevsky to the kids before bed...

  2. Fran

    Another triumph! Are you sure you weren't formerly known as Jill Swinburne, the teacher in 'The Beiderbecke Affair'? The behaviour patterns are uncannily similar.

  3. Amanda - are you serious? Are you not from the nation which has four hundred thousand and ninety three different flavours for ice cream, including savoury ones? How did the Dosto .. Dost ... Dos ... the Russian literature go down with the kids?

  4. Oh no, Martin. Not ANOTHER book I know nothing about! I will follow this one up. Anyway, I want to know what you're implying .......

  5. I'm so glad you are finished with all that marking! I've been wondering what's going on at the bus stop, and at your school, and in the rain, and just anywhere else you might happen to be!

  6. 'The Beiderbecke Affair' was a TV series written by Alan Plater. If you were Jill Swinburne, you would have been played by Barbara Flynn and starring with James Bolam.

    Merely implying that you and Jill (if you aren't one and the same) both display a similar sense of dry humour.

  7. That's just the point, Lesley. Wherever I am, nothing happens. I just choose to write about all the nothing and somehow extremely trivial blog posts emerge which seem to entertain people. I'm okay with that. If lots happened to me, I wouldn't have time to write the blog posts ...

  8. Oh, I see, Martin! I wonder if it's on DVD somewhere. I quite fancy that. I wish it had been me - I'd have quite liked co-starring with James Bolam.

  9. and the men in white coats are on their way, just a bit longer, dear, stay calm now, don't worry, they really are on their way.
    And I promise you, you shall have some prawn flavoured crisps too, just as soon as they can come and get you........

  10. Friko, if you're there - I did upload your comment but it has disappeared off into the ether. I am told it has been added, but as you can see, it hasn't. I'm sorry. It made me laugh a lot.

  11. Hey Miss, I can see me loud and clear!
    Deaf and blind as well as gaga, pull yourself together, woman!

  12. I tell ya, Friko, sompin' funny's goin' on. I can see you now, but not Mark's comment which I've also just uploaded ... presumably he'll appear in the night when I wasn't looking, like you did. Deaf? Blind? Gaga? Who said that? Where are you? Let me out of this wardrobe.


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