I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Neat and/or necessary

As well as things that are merely expensive (esp. the Neff oven and hob) our kitchen is host to items that say: Clever!

The blade on this potato peeler is loosely mounted. Thus it follows the contours of the potato and does the job twice as quickly. But imagine starting out to design it. How long before you thought: Aha, a loose blade!

More expensive is the Brabantia touch-bin. Touch the lid and it springs open. Clever-ish. What's odd is subsequent expectation. I visit younger daughter, OS, try to discard a bottle cork, touch the bin lid. It doesn't open, doesn't have that feature. I am conditioned by a waste bin.

The knife sharpener was damned expensive: a conventional steel embedded with the dust of industrial diamonds. Hard, see; it's the knife blade that wears and thus becomes sharper. Knives only last for ever if they remain blunt; see them as consumables.

The flour jar (sits in the window sill) has a neat clip and is made of transparent plastic. Thus lighter and less of a levered strain on VR's shortish arm. What's that you say? Glass is more pleasing. So is cocaine.

Not so much clever as downright essential: wall-mounted dispensers for film wrap and foil. Cooks who tear crudely from the loose roll are ignoring their intellectual birthright.

Leaves, summer’s coinage spent, golden are altogether whirled,
sent spinning, dipping, slipping, shuffled by heavy-handed wind,
shifted sideways, sifted, and in swarms made to fly
spent sun-flies, gorgeous tatters, airdrift, pinions of drift

At first I thought surely Gerard Manley Hopkins, the rhythmic word-sound man. But then I had my doubts. The trick is to make it seem you’re playing with words, but there’s hard discipline here. And the scansion isn’t easy.

R.E. Warner (b. 1905) 

WHOOPS!! I find I posted this poetry extract as recently as last year. What can I say? Soon, a walk to the supermarket will be an adventure. 


  1. I have the wall mounted dispensers. The Clingfilm seems to last forever. Every time I use it I think it will expire, but it just keeps going and going - reminds me, I must buy a spare roll.

    The poem reads better for me if taken very slowly and savoured. Much poetry is enigmatic but this is like a 3D HD mind picture.

  2. Sir Hugh: Clingfilm always exhausts itself (I have just finished my French homework) at the most inconvenient moment - typically with the object-to-be-wrapped hot and liquid in one's left hand (right for you).

  3. You're so right about the cling film and foil, I know it not only every time I try to extract it from the box but also just rummaging in the cupboard for the boxes. So why do I not push for the wall dispenser? I know not, such is life, we stay with the inconvenient out of inertia.

    I very much like old knives worn thin and concave by repeated sharpening. We have one of those carborundum (?) type of things, which leaves dust in the draw but is very satisfying to use.

  4. Lucy: When we bought the touch-bin, brother Sir Hugh was with us and decided to buy one too. Afterwards, speaking jocularly, he said it had changed his life. Alas, soon after, the catch broke and I suppose his life changed back to what it was before. Very sad.

    Mounting a dispenser requires a couple of Rawlplugs and a couple of screws, but your problem may well be lack of wall-space. My heart bleeds for you. There's enormous tactile pleasure to be derived from activating the guillotine in the lid.

  5. Might as well pipe in and give my dime's worth.
    My bin opens up when my foot touches pedal to offer choice of two containers, one for recycling and one for waste (just imagine the circle cut through the middle - you did? ok). I like that the lid never shows sticky finger prints.
    My clear food film is a 610m roll.
    I bought the first roll in December 2003 and replaced it in June 2008. The roll is still heavy and I'm afraid it might outlive me.
    No, I'm not weird. Food film is the only thing I have too much of. Really.

  6. Ellena: I had a foot-controlled bin but the action was not as seductive.

    I was surprised that your roll of film was measured in metres. Then I remembered you live north of a very significant border. Imagine it unrolled on a field, all 667 yards of it. How long would it take you to run that distance? No fibbing, now.

    "Food film is the only thing I have too much of." But with it comes peace of mind, in that part of the kitchen at least. Dwell on that for a second or two.

  7. True about the wall space, I looked around and could see nowhere one could go. The latest rolls of film, however, have a 'rouleau fixé' in the box and a much better cutting edge than older models, so are not too onerous, as long as I can find the box. But please, massicot, not guillotine.

    I do rather suspect though, that the need for cling film readily to hand is rather a symptom of age and/or personality, pertaining as it does mostly to the satisfactory conservation of leftovers, something which few younger persons have any concern for. Except I suppose they might need it for the wrapping of children's pack lunches.

  8. Lucy: I had to look up massicot. I found:

    Machine à couper le papier. (Pour le rognage des livres et des revues, on utilise des massicots à trois lames, dits trilatéraux.)

    Machine permettant la mise aux dimensions du placage déroulé ou tranché.

    I bow the knee to your terminological exactitude but I'm not tempted. Tone Deaf is regularly accused of pretentiousness and massicot would play into the hands of my accusers.

    And in any case the word's exactness could rebound on to the user. Only someone who works in an office would use it. I strive for wider horizons.