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Reasons why Fran is in a pickle
I bought some jars of pickles at our local Leamington Spa Food Festival last week. I felt obliged after I'd tasted all thirty-seven samples. Eventually, I had to stop sampling. There are only so many 'I-may-buy-this-one' faces one can make and, anyway, the queue behind me stretched back to the M40 and held up traffic.
A jam caused by pickle
The full-size jars cost as much as it would to go and pick my own mangoes in Malaysia, so I opted for a set of four mini-jars costing a fiver.
I bought these flavours:
Beer and Honey Mustard
Spicy Tomato Chutney
All I can tell you is that the lime pickle is very tasty and goes well with cold meat. I almost didn't get to find that out, because the lid took ten minutes to prise off and when it did finally come free, it was with such force that I nearly lime-pickled the dining room walls. We've been talking about redecorating, but were thinking more Ivory Cream or Pale Gold than Accidental Chutney.
As for the other three jars, the lids won't shift. My husband tried - he can't get them off either.
I wrote to the lady who makes the pickles - her email address was on the card that came with the mini-jars - and asked her whether she ought to adjust her lid machine, but she tells me she screws the lids on by hand.
I replied to her email, 'What? Are you bionic?'
Her reply was quite distant, as though she'd thought our relationship of pickle-seller and pickle-customer not chummy enough for jokes. Fair enough, I thought, if you were selling haute couture ballgowns or six-figure-priced diamond watches, but I think there's room in the pickle industry for a touch of informality.
The pickle lady has suggested a) banging on the lids to loosen them and b) running the jars under warm water. I will try these tonight.
My third option, failing all else, is c) Take up body-building.
Four years later, Fran was in shape, but the pickles had gone mouldy
It's nearly a month since Christmas and I still have my pile of books and notebooks from friends and family on a chair by the sofa. I can't bring myself to put them all away. There's no reason why I should. No one's dared to move the pile so that they can sit sat on the chair for a while anyway. But these are lovely presents: novels, books of poetry, books about poetry, delicious notebooks .... what's not to like? I haven't always received such pleasing gifts. I was married in April 1982. At the end of that month, I turned 20. Yes, a young bride, and one who wasn't so delighted with her birthday present from her new husband. 'I've bought you an ironing board cover, too,' he said, looking pleased. 'It's the right size. I've checked.' And indeed he had. It was prettier than the plain blue one on this picture: flowery and cheerful. He had tried. Nevertheless, we had words. I was compassionate, don't worry. I was his first
My try-to-get-fitter walk in the fields today was a silent one. I usually listen to the radio through earphones but have lost one of the soft earbuds and nothing spoils a walk more than having hard plastic nudging up against your fragile tympanic membrane. The BBC's 'Woman's Hour' is a brilliant programme but loyalty has limits. It was disconcerting, walking in silence. Listening to radio distracts from the disturbing reality that my legs are propelling me in forward motion because, if I think too hard about this, I frighten myself. Today, while walking, I had to listen to my own thoughts. And now I've listened to my own thoughts, I remember why I like radio better. The inside of my head is like a wastepaper basket. Be grateful that I only offer you a brief excerpt. Oh, look, that bird is - / Where did I put that mark scheme. I'll need it for - / My shoes are getting muddier./ Maybe mash with the fish tonight / really muddy / The trees are definitely more
Ben Cottam (@TheCottam) posted this statement on Twitter today: 'When you're growing up, no one ever tells you how much of your adult life will be spent pushing tumbling Tupperware into cupboards.' I know, right? Why does no one say? And what else does no one tell you about adult life, particularly later adult life? I have made a list. 1. That one day you will say, 'They'll freeze, dressed like that,' and 'Let's go home. It's nearly 10pm,' and think nothing of it. 2. That a summer will come when you will start the days dressed in cardigan and socks and only take them off when it's warm enough to leave the kitchen door open. 3. That police officers, teachers and nurses, rather than getting older, get younger, birthday by birthday, and that one day you will be burgled and then visited by a seven year old with a notebook and a helmet. 4. That the music in pubs and clubs becomes louder, brasher and more sweary, year on year, so that