Friday, 31 May 2013

The stuff wot we have done

It’s half term here in the UK, one week holiday and then the rest of the term to go. I know all my American peeps have finished, but we still have seven weeks left so don’t talk to me about it. Even after nearly a decade of living here my body clock still registers US time when it comes to the end of the school year. By the end of May I start to get antsy. Shouldn’t we be finished by now? Thank goodness for half term.

 We’ve been busy beavers having a few day trips and nice surprises in honour of our wedding anniversary next week. I’ll go into detail on all the little bits next week, but here are a few highlights from our day trips.


We ambled into London to our old friend The British Library. They do so many interesting exhibits and talks, we practically live there. We also love it as it literally a stone’s throw from King’s Cross station. We went to see their new exhibit on Propaganda and boy was it interesting (and not just because the exhibit told us it was). It had a variety of items from paintings of Napoleon and Chairman Mao that tried to use symbolism to convince us they were the chosen leader to some WWII propaganda --some about careless talk costs lives, but some about dig for victory and getting people to grow more veg. There was even Potato Pete and his friend Doctor Carrot to convince children to eat more veg. There was also a cheerful ditty you could listen to on headphones about our vegetable friends. Somehow hearing a talking potato say, “Hey kids, I taste great in soup!” makes me feel like a cannibal, but what do I know? 

How many times have you heard that carrots are good for your eyes? That carrots help you see in the dark? I heard this all my life, but it turns out that this was just propaganda invented in WWII and spouted off by the likes of Doctor Carrot who said that British pilots were eating loads of carrots to help them shoot down German planes. Carrots were easy to grow at home and this was said to encourage more people to grow them and eat them. It would, supposedly, help you see in a blackout. But it was all spin made up by the Society for Eating More Carrots (or whatever they were called). Interesting, no? It gets better.

They had the *actual* Protect and Survive manuals given out by the government in the event of a nuclear attack during the Cold War. The advice was ludicrous and everyone would have ended up dead. Well you would have, wouldn’t you? In a nuclear attack making a “lean to” shelter using your doors angled at precisely 60 degrees would make all the difference, right?

Then there was Bert The Turtle. He was the mascot for children to teach them how to duck and cover. Because we all know that if you duck and cover, the radiation and fall out will just magically pass you by. There was also a cheerful jingle that took three people to write about be like Bert the Turtle and duck and cover. Spiderman and I both recall having duck and cover drills at school--they said it was for hurricanes--but now we are wondering.
how we were taught to do it in school


After the exhibit we pottered over to our favourite restaurant Tibits for a gorgeous meal. I should mention at this point that it has been cold and *pissing* down with rain all week. Everywhere we went we were slightly soggy despite wearing our cagoules. A cagoule for those who don’t know the term is like a small waterproof windbreaker with a hood that you can roll up and stow away in your bag when it is not raining. We didn’t really get to take them off all week.


Then it was of to Foyles bookshop--a wonderful five story bookshop. We try to get books from places like them as we are trying boycott Amazon as they don’t pay their taxes. Seriously, they are that disgraceful kind of legal tax dodger with offshore accounts. We’d rather give our money to more honest companies. But I digress.


We were there to do several things--browse some books and see Joe Hill. For those of you who do not know him--you *must* go now to you local comic book shop and purchase the graphic novels series Locke and Key. That’s an order. This amazing series, so complex and layered, with history and horror and characters you genuinely care about will knock your socks off. We start every issue with a tickle fight to see who gets to read it first when it comes through the post and end every issue screaming, “Nooooooooooo!!!!!” because the cliffhanger is so unbearable. There are three issues left and I don’t think I can bear it. I think some of my favourite people are going to die.


Anyway, we are huge fans of his other works as well. Check out his collection of *brilliant* short stories Twentieth Century Ghosts or his novels Heart Shaped Box and Horns (soon to be a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe)  But we were there to hear him talk about his newest novel NOS 4R2 (or NOS 4A2 as it is in the US--for pronunciation sake)

British (left) American (right)

Still can’t figure it out? NOS 4R2 is the vanity plate on a car--say it out loud. Nosferatu Geddit?

He was just as gracious as he was the last time we saw him and he kindly signed a bunch more books for us. Seriously. Check him out.

 That was the stuff wot we done on Tuesday. Stay tuned for the further exploits.  

Monday, 27 May 2013

Songs of innocence, songs of experience

I seem to exist in another time--a  more innocent time. I am the sort of person who would fall for that old joke about did you know the word gullible is not in the dictionary. I still retain a largely naïve view of the world, particularly when it comes to song lyrics.

 There were many songs from my childhood that I loved and only  later did I find out their  lascivious meanings. I had a *completely* different understanding as to the content of these songs and was *completely* shocked (and sometimes disappointed) to discover their true meanings. 

Exhibit A

MacArthur Park by Donna Summer

I loved this song and her witchy laugh in it. Here are the lyrics:

 MacArthur's park is melting in the dark
All the sweet green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it 'cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again, oh, no

I recall thinking, “I hate it when you leave something out in the rain and it gets all wet. I bet she left the recipe out in the back yard and the ink ran and she couldn’t read the words and she’ll never know  how to bake that cake again. But maybe she could bake another cake with another recipe and then she could have her dessert after all. It may not be the same, but it would be still be nice.” I remember talking to my dad about my idea and him pointing out that this song was mostly likely about DRUGS. MacArthur Park in Los Angeles was a notorious hang out in the 1960s for drug dealers and users. This song was probably a reference to some hallucinogenic acid trip rather than literally about cake in the rain.

 Thanks Dad for helping a tiny bit of my childhood innocence to die. I do recall telling him that I didn’t care and I thought my interpretation was more interesting and more realistic. I left stuff out in the rain all the time. A cake (and a piece of paper with writing on it) were bound to be ruined. Nuff said.

Verdict: still love it, but love my version better.

Exhibit B

The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo) by Manfred Mann

I loved this song so much. It was such a friendly ditty and my favourite bit was the whistling between the verses. It just sounded like a children’s song. I believed it was all about an ice cream salesman and how everyone loved him--even the pigeons in the trees.

 Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn
Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn

Everybody's building ships and boats
Some are building monuments, others are jotting down notes
Everybody's in despair, every girl and boy
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Everybody's gonna jump for joy

Come all without, come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn

I like to go just like the rest, I like my sugar sweet
But jumping queues and makin' haste, just ain't my cup of meat
Everyone's beneath the trees, feedin' pigeons on a limb
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
All the pigeons gonna run to him

 I always thought he was called Quinn the Eskimo because he sold Eskimo pies. Remember those?

Yes well, I was a grown up married woman when Spiderman rather unkindly pointed out that it was not a song about a jolly man and his ice cream van making all the kiddies happy--it was in fact about DRUGS. Quinn the Eskimo is so called because he deals in powdery white stuff. Pigeons are a slang word for drug dealers.  I genuinely didn’t believe him until he quoted the line When Quinn the Eskimo gets here, everybody’s gonna want a dose. I swear I never noticed that bit before. Now every time I hear the opening bars of music I feel all warm inside thinking about that nice man and then I get that sinking feeling in my tummy when I remember. This song is basically ruined for me. Thanks honey.

 Now the original song was by Bob Dylan and if I had heard his version first I might not have made that mistake because when ole Bob and his cronies sings it--it sounds like they are stoned out of their gourds. It is fairly tuneless. But the Manfred Mann version is so chirpy and jolly it just sounds like it should be a friendly ice cream van driver even if it isn’t.

Verdict: ruined for all times

Edited to note: Spiderman—you may be wrong and this song may be saved if Wikipedia is to be trusted.  According to wiki:

The subject of the song is the arrival of the mighty Quinn (an Eskimo), who changes despair into joy and chaos into rest, and attracts attention from the animals. Dylan is widely believed to have derived the title character from actor Anthony Quinn's role as an Eskimo in the 1960 movie The Savage Innocents.[2] Dylan has also been quoted as saying that the song was nothing more than a "simple nursery rhyme."

 Plus if you google the lyrics it says

 Let me do what I wanna do, I can't decide 'em all
Just tell me where to put 'em and I'll tell you who to call
Nobody can get no sleep, there's someone on everyone's toes
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Everybody's gonna wanna DOZE.
Not dose. Not take drugs, do you hear me???

Verdict: redeemed.

Exhibit C

Lola by the Kinks

 I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola
C-o-l-a cola
She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said Lola
L-o-l-a Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola

Well I'm not the worlds most physical guy
But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
Oh my Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola
Well I'm not dumb but I can't understand
Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man
Oh my Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola

Ok, I just figured she was a tomboy. There were lots in my neighbourhood who had less girly voices and a vice like hand grip. They dressed like a girls but acted like boys.

 I actually drove off the road and into a ditch when I actually heard the line  

 Well I'm not the worlds most masculine man
But I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man
And so is Lola

 This song doesn’t disappoint me like Quinn the Eskimo used to. It makes it make more sense. Plus I don’t have any problem with transsexuals--I know a few. This song got better when I understood it, not worse.

 Verdict: Still love it .Love it more now that I understand it.

Exhibit D

Do Ya Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart

Let’s get one thing straight--I am not so naïve that I didn’t know this was about SEX. Even as a child I figured that one out pretty easily. With lyrics like this it would be hard not to.

 If you want my body and you think I'm sexy
Come on honey tell me so
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on sugar let me know

 No my innocence comes about a particular line that I had misinterpreted until very recently. I was in the kitchen cooking and singing along to the radio. When we got to the line Give me dime so I can phone my mother I screamed and ran out of the kitchen to see Spiderman who was sitting on the sofa. The conversation went something like this:

 Me:  Oh my stars he’s buying a condom from a vending machine!

 Spiderman: ( laughing) What did you think he was doing?

Me: Actually phoning his mother. I always thought he was such a nice son because he phoned her to say “don’t wait up because I’m going to be out late.”

 I can’t believe I never figured that one out.

 Verdict: At least he was having safe sex.


Exhibit E

Mama’s Got a Squeezebox by The Who

Mama's got a squeeze box
She wears on her chest
And when Daddy comes home
He never gets no rest

'Cause she's playing all night
And the music's all right
Mama's got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

 Well the kids don't eat
And the dog can't sleep
There's no escape from the music
In the whole damn street

 Night before last I was cooking and listening to the radio and this song came on. I had that terrible sinking feeling once again. When Spiderman came home from work I met him at the door with this question.

Me: Um…can I ask you something.

Spiderman: Yes.

Me: The song Mama’s Got a Squeezebox…it’s not actually about playing the accordion is it?

Spiderman: (trying not to laugh) Think about it. What happens to Daddy?

Me: he can’t sleep at night. But that could be because she’s up to all hours playing zydeco music.

Spiderman: (giving me that raised eyebrow look I know so well) And how does she play it?

Me: (quoting lyrics) it goes in and out and in and out and in and out. Well that is actually how you play the accordion. Are you absolutely  sure?

Spiderman: Definitely sure.

 Yet again, at age 43, I am only just figuring this out.

Verdict: I prefer zydeco music.

Exhibit F

Blinded By The Light by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

I still have no clue what this is actually about. It’s probably about DRUGS. There is a reference to Go-cart Mozart checking out the weather, just seeing if it was safe outside --maybe he’s looking for snow (nudge nudge! Wink wink!) and trying to avoid a narc.  Maybe it‘s about SEX--there are some lyrics about a silicone sister and her manager Mister. I really don’t know. I really don’t care. This is a glorious song that captured my imagination as a child. It also healed me. You heard me right.

 Once as a child I was home sick with the flu and felt horrible--achy and feverish. We had a hi-fi with a turntable and the radio was on. This song came on and the bit where it sounds like a roller coaster (where it goes dun nun nun nun nun nun dooooOOOOOooo) was playing and I got up off the sofa and walked to the hi-fi and stood touching the enormous speaker just as he sang the line the calliope crashed to the ground and I felt my fever break. Suddenly the achy-ness was less and I felt like I was getting better. I genuinely to this day feel that the song did it. 

 My favourite part was always:

 With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin' kinda older,
I tripped the merry-go-round
With this very unpleasin', sneezin' and wheezin,
the calliope crashed to the ground
The calliope crashed to the ground

 There’s lots of nonsensical internal rhyme such as

 dumps with the mumps

Early-Pearly came by in his curly-wurly

Some brimstone baritone anticyclone rolling stone preacher from the east
Says, "Dethrone the dictaphone, hit it in it's funny bone,
that's where they expect it least"

Now Scott with a slingshot finally found a tender spot
And some bloodshot forget-me-not said daddy's within earshot save the buckshot, turn up the band

 Plus the music is so good it makes you feel like you are on a roller coaster. I don’t want my innocence spoiled on this one.

 If you know what the meaning of this song is—please kindly keep it to yourself. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

One of the pod people

I never thought I’d be one of the pod people. You know, those people plugged into headphones carrying an iPod. I have resisted most forms of modern technology. I do not carry a mobile phone, we don’t have a telly or the internet at home. I type all my blog posts on a laptop at home, put them on a memory stick and then paste them at the library.

But here I am. A confirmed pod person. Spiderman bought me a very lo-tech cheap one when I went in hospital several years back. It was perfect for what I needed then--entertainment to take my mind off the fact the my 2 kilo uterus had been removed and I had a whopping great scar held together with staples in its place. But as I grew more tech savvy, I missed things like a menu or a search function. You had to just wait for the song you wanted to come round again. You could  go forward and backward but it really drained the battery--it is was a real battery not a rechargeable one so I was forever toting used batteries to the recycle box as they are toxic to throw away and then buying more.

A bit like Pinocchio, I dreamed of being a real pod person.  But have you priced them lately? I mean they are like £180  but have 160GB so it is worth it, but please. I am cheap to the core and have trouble spending out on myself.    I would NEVER have shelled out for a proper iPod despite my heart‘s desire. My beloved step dad Jamie was kind enough to send me some money to purchase one. He had cancer and he knew he was dying and wanted everyone he loved to have a gift from him. Every time I use it I think of him.

I  have loaded lots of tunes onto it and have been really getting into pod casts. When I first mentioned it to Spiderman  he was a bit incredulous. What do you know about pod casts? He seemed to say as he raised his eyebrow at me in that sarcastic way he does. Well quite a lot, actually smacktually. Thank you very much.  There is a whole vegan radio network out there and you can listen to interesting pod casts of vegans talking about cookbook reviews, food, animal rights issues in the news and much, much more. I love to listen to other vegans who live , like me, in a non-vegan world. My favourites so far are Red Radio, The Vegan Option and Our Hen House--all free off of i-Tunes. My new super favourite is Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s Food for Thought.  Also free off of i-Tunes. Check them out!


I listened to a fascinating interview with my favourite vegan poet Benjamin Zephaniah who talked about a man named Al-Ma'arri who lived from 973-1057. According to Wikipedia:


   He achieved fame as one of greatest of Arab poets. Al-Ma'arri was stricken with smallpox when four and became blind. As he grew older, he was able to travel to Aleppo, Antioch and other Syrian cities, learning by heart the manuscripts preserved there. Al-Ma'arri spent 18 months at Baghdad, then the center of learning and poetry, leaving to return to his native town. There he created the , a large collection of verses that contrasts from traditional works by its irregular structure and in the opinions it contains. His presence in Ma'arra drew many people, who came to hear him lecture on poetry and rhetoric.

He was an early vegan and animal rights activist writing beautiful poems like this one all those years ago: It refuses to format properly--so sorry about that. read it anyway.

                       I No Longer Steal from Nature                                                                              

You are diseased in understanding and religion.                                                                       
Come to me, that you may hear something of sound truth.                                                                  Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up,

And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,

Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught

for their young, not noble ladies.

And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs;

for injustice is the worst of crimes.

And spare the honey which the bees get industriously

from the flowers of fragrant plants;

For they did not store it that it might belong to others,

Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts.

I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I

Perceived my way before my hair went gray!


Isn’t that amazing?  The poem really echoes my feelings--why did I wait so late to start living a compassionate life? I’ve been vegetarian since 2002 and vegan since 2004, but now knowing what I know really wish I started on this path sooner. But at least now I know I am living a peaceful life that is healthy for me, the animals and the planet.

Anyway, the pod cast is fascinating.  To hear Benjamin Zephaniah read it in his dulcet tones was a real treat. You can listen to the interview and the academic discussion on Al-Ma’arri here:

I also recently, in my sewing frenzy, decided to sew a wee case for my iPod from some beautiful fabric I was gifted by a friend. I had been keeping it in a brightly coloured children’s sock, but decided I needed a posh case made out of tapestry fabric and lined with acetate.



I love the little bag--it is just the right size for my iPod and it closes with a decorative button. And we all know decorative buttons make everything better. FACT. I also really love that it only cost me 15p to make (the cost of the button) as I already had the fabric. I can wrap the wires around it to keep them from getting tangled. It fits in my apron pocket or the outer pocket of my handbag. Perfect.

What do you keep you iPod in? 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Video killed the radio star

Maybe it did back in the 80’s, but not in this house, folks. We don’t own a telly, but we’ve got a radio. Last year when we stayed in the windmill on holiday there was a digital radio in the kitchen through which we rediscovered the joys of radio. It was great to jam to tunes whilst cooking--singing along to your favourite song using a spoon as a microphone and all that. Plus there was Radio 4 (think NPR for my American peeps) that had lots of cool  comedy programmes--many of them politically topical--a way to get the news and have a laugh. We often listened to them on a Saturday at the library on playback, but we missed more than we heard.

We came home from the windmill and really missed the musical mealtimes, so Reader--we did it. We decided to invest in a middle range digital radio/CD player with good speakers for the kitchen to sit atop the fridge freezer. A digital radio ensured we could FM as well as RADIO 4. We bought it and set it up. It didn’t get super great reception--we couldn’t get *every* channel we were hoping for (the all 80s station springs to mind) but it played. We enjoyed both FM and RADIO 4 comedy quite often until a few months ago. Then it happened. The thing. The bad thing.

We stopped getting reception. We don’t know why. It seemed to correspond  with workmen going up in the loft space in the stairwell and jigging about. We don’t know what they did, but after that the radio stopped working. Well, RADIO 4 stopped working. The digital part stopped working. FM was ok if you wanted to listen to JACKFM. But RADIO 4 went all crrrrkkk crrrrkkk crrrrkkkkk and you really couldn’t enjoy it. It was so loud and crackly it was liking being trapped in a car with Spiderman’s dad who was trying to listen to some far off broadcast of a baseball game. All you heard was static and the occasional cheer. We were super sad face.

We have contemplated what to do for several months. We looked into buying some sort of signal booster--the cheapest ones were £20-£30.  But where would it go? The space is limited atop the fridge. What if it didn’t work? Spiderman, being the amazing research librarian that he is, stalked the internet looking for comments left by others on what worked for them.

Eureka! He came home last night with some notes and we tried several suggestions based on ideas he gleaned from the internet. Some people said they got better reception with something metal behind the radio. We tried various pots, pans and baking sheets until we hit upon the perfect pan.


For whatever bizarre reason, if you prop the pizza pan behind the radio, making sure it touches the back of the radio, we suddenly get good reception.  RADIO 4 comes in like a dream--we listened to The Now Show  over our evening meal. Plus we get several more digital radio stations--sadly not the all 80s one--but many good ones. There was one I was really digging that played Good Times by Chic followed by Celebration by Kool and the Gang but Spiderman vetoed disco radio calling the bands Shit and Krap and the Gang, respectively. It all ended in a tickle fight with me trying to defend my love for disco while shrieking and hopping about.

I love how we fixed it. My dad Garry was a fixer like that. He fixed many-a- thing in our household when I was growing up with a bit of string and some ordinary household tape. He was like MacGyver. Remember him? Dad and I loved how he could disable a bomb or escape from a locked building using only a bit of lint he found in his trouser pocket, some dental floss and a spoonful of cat food or some other nonsensical combination of random ingredients. I can recall my Dad fixing the drain on our bathtub. There was a little metal peg that you pulled up to close the plughole and pushed down to drain the water. It was a nail that you moved up and down with an ordinary rubber band tied to some string. It sure was ugly, but it worked.   In my house we called it Garry Rigging. It was our version of Jerry Rigging. I can recall the term Jerry Rigging being used--and always used it myself--because it was preferable to the more common expression N*gger Rigging which I found abhorrent. I thought that Jerry Rigging wasn’t in any way racist. I was an adult before I understood that Jerry was a derogatory name for the Germans in WWII.

So we have successfully Garry Rigged our radio and once again, music and comedy can be heard in the Spider household. Tomorrow we’ll go out to Wilkinsons and buy another pizza pan for about a fiver. Spending £5 and knowing it works is way better than spending £20-£30 and it maybe not working. There is something cool about doing it yourself. Every time I look at it I’ll think of my dear old Dad.  .

And also MacGyver.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Grudge match

If there was an Olympic medal for holding grudges, I would win the gold every time. FACT. Did I ever mention that my granny *stole* my playdough right out of my hands when I was three and made a blue kangaroo? Well, she did. She liked it so much she *kept* it. Not only did she mash up the whale I was making to make her own animal—but she wouldn’t give it back!!! That was 41 years ago and still get all cross thinking about it.

The other day on the way home from work I went to Sainsbury to “make groceries” as they say back in Louisiana. I carried heavy bags home, laid them down and went straight back out to the independent Health Food Shop. It was a Tuesday—which meant delivery day. I had ordered some jumbo raisins. I am extremely picky about raisins. As a child I was disgusted by them—I was once heard to say “I would rather eat a roach than eat a raisin.” They looked like flies with the wings pulled off. But these days I dig ‘em. But only—and it is a big only—only if they are not glazed in oil. Who the hell thought it was a good idea to glaze dried fruit in oil? And why, oh why, does it always seem to be palm oil? We try so hard to avoid palm oil as it is the cause of so much destruction of rainforest habitats. Oil on raisins makes me swear like a fecking navvy.

There are 2 brands of raisins that I can find that are not glazed in oil. Number One—Sun Maid.  They cost a bit over £3 for 500g but they are increasingly harder to find. Then there is the brand from the health food shop. They make *gorgeous* jumbo raisins (and they really mean jumbo), not glazed in oil and cost £1 less for 500g. So I ordered a bag because I have a new recipe I am really desperate to try. Picture caramelised onions in a rich, sweet, sticky sauce with chickpeas, raisins and pine nuts over barley couscous. I am really smacking for it. I *needed* those raisins.

I got to the shop and (cue dramatic music) dun dun DUN! There were no raisins. The shelf was empty. Empty I tell you—as empty as my heart when I saw it. I cried out, “Oh no! Did the raisins not come in?” as sometimes you order and your desired item was out of stock. No they came in. Twelve bags of raisins came in. Twelve bags of raisins—one of them which was supposed to be mine. Where had they gone?

 Well I’ll tell you. While I was at Sainsbury some couple came in and bought the lot. Bought them all and left no friendly bag to help me after.  The woman behind the counter was ever so nice—she hadn’t realised that one was supposed to be saved back for me. I mean, when you put twelve out, you don’t expect they will fly off the shelf at once. She was so excited that someone wanted to buy the lot she forgot to check the magic book where customer orders were recorded.

 So there were no raisins for me. Those people STOLE my raisins. They should be prosecuted!!! The Health Food Shop should be tried as an accessory for aiding and abetting the criminals!!!

I know it was an honest mistake…but I really feel hard done by and cannot seem to stop. Every time I think about it, I shake my fist at the couple and think about all the lovely unglazed raisins they will be enjoying. Because did I mention? After I was told she had sold all my raisins I exclaimed, “Oh no! It is so hard to find raisins not glazed in oil!” She laughed and replied, “That’s exactly what *they* said!”

Wearily I traipsed back to Sainsbury to see if I could get some Sun Maid. But no. Alas, there was none. Oh yes there were plenty of raisins. Oily shrivelled little buggers, not worthy of human consumption. Bags and bags of the stuff all glazed in the tears of orang-utans who have lost their homes through deforestation.  

Now there will be no lovely caramelised onion with chickpeas, raisins and pine nuts over barley couscous because as they say in Rasta Mouse “Dem people teefed my raisins!”

When I was relating this to Spiderman he seemed to find it really funny and said, “I don’t know whether to say Are you quite mad? Or Are you quite finished?”

I really am trying. I know I need to be more forgiving and less petty. I know God forgives every day all the things I do that I am sincerely sorry about, why can I not extend the same courtesy to others? It is just raisins we are talking about here—albeit very nice jumbo unglazed raisins. I will not go hungry because there are no raisins. I will simply have to choose another meal to cook. I may not want to, but I can. Other people are not so fortunate. Some people in the world have nothing to eat, where I have an infinite array of food to choose from.

Help me keep it in perspective, Lord. And please send me some raisins for next week.