Saturday, 30 September 2017

Gardening, health and safety, food and such like stuff!

This week we have achieved a few things.

The other day Phil finally deemed the grass in the garden just about dry enough - or at least not bent over with moisture - for him to get the mower out and give the garden a trim. A much-needed trim! And then as he cleaned the mower prior to returning it to the neighbour who lent it to us the rain came back with a vengeance. He was soaked to the skin and needed a change of clothes!

Then, yesterday, we finally got ourselves to the local doctors' surgery for a flu jab. We arrived not long after the surgery opened its doors but already the queue was quite long. But the nurse was quite efficient and kept things moving. As we waited I spotted a poster reminding everyone to wash their hands properly and prevent the spread of flu germs. Coincidentally Phil had found an article explaining that after going to the loo, if you wish your hand-washing to be truly effective, you should soap your hands for the time it takes you to sing "Happy birthday to you" twice! Happy hand-washing to all! There seems to be a public education campaign underway about ways not to spread germs.

Returning home later on the bus was an odd experience. We had picked up some stuff at the local Tesco and just managed to catch one of the elusive buses serving our area. Congratulating ourselves on our efficiency, we marvelled at the emptiness of the bus. Not for long! A couple of stops further along the route about sixty local schoolchildren got on. It must have taken a good five minutes for the bus driver to process their entry. They poured upstairs, and down again if they did not find seats, and filled the lower deck. Two stops further along, even more got on.

Now, schoolchildren do not understand the term "move down the bus". Standing schoolchildren congregate in the area nearest to the driver, blocking the way on and off the bus, despite admonitions and instructions from any responsible adults on the vehicle. Getting off the bus proved to be very difficult, especially as the aforementioned schoolchildren rang the bell requesting the next stop about every thirty seconds. Modern ways are strange! Bring back the bus conductor?

In today's newspaper, under a picture of Prince Harry sharing his popcorn with a small girl, I found information about the rise and rise of that odd snack. Sales of crisps in the UK, it seems, have declined for the third year running but popcorn sales have increased amazingly. Here are some statistics:
a 10% increase in sales in the Uk.
£152 million spent on popcorn this year.
twice as much as elsewhere in Europe.

Is this a habit we have imported from the USA where 13 billion litres of popcorn are consumed every year, three quarters of it eaten at home? Why is popcorn measured in litres, by the way? This increase in sales in the UK, so they say, is because of new flavours. New flavours such as goat's cheese or gin and tonic. Who knew that such flavours could be combined with what is essentially a rather tasteless snack? As you might be able to tell, I am not greatly enamoured of popcorn. I still do not understand why some people think it is essential to eat it while watching films or sporting events, as in the case of Prince Harry at the Invictus games.

Other food items have attracted my attention. This is the time of year when I look out for figs. As a child I never fully realised that figs were so delightful in their own right; they were just something that went into those rather unsatisfactory fig biscuits. Now I have a handful of really good recipe involving figs. Well, on the radio earlier today I heard someone maintain that figs are not actually a fruit. They are an inverted flower and the seeds inside are the fruit. In the same way, the speaker went on, strawberries are not a fruit; the fruit is the seeds which speckly the strawberry. But strawberry plants produce flowers before they produce berries. So how does that work out? And should we regard apples and oranges as not truly fruit but regard the pips inside them as the actual fruit?

Such conundrums are an escape from the problems of the modern world.

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