Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 16 February 2014
My quest for the perfect Dal
You would think that making a very tasty Indian Dal would be as easy as cooking fish, wouldn't you? Well I can't do either.
In the pub last night, I noticed a very promising recipe for 'the perfect Dal' in a foodie supplement, so I took out my phone to photograph it.
It was poor (some would say 'romantic') light, and the phone camera has no shutter-speed settings, so the above unreadable picture was taken.
I try to avoid flash as much as possible, because it bleaches out fine print on white backgrounds, but in this case I thought it had to be used, so I searched for a way to turn the flash on the phone.
Ten minutes later, I was still searching through the menus in vain and I turned the phone over to look at the lens side.
My new phone gives detailed instructions on how to take a 'selfie'. It says, 'look into the lens and follow instructions on the screen'. These instructions are impossible to carry out to the letter however, because it only has one lens, and that is on the other side of the screen. Without blocking the subject matter (yourself) with a mirror, you cannot look at the screen and the lens at the same time.
When I turned it over I discovered that it has no flash, so I stopped looking for instructions as to how to turn it on, even if there were any - which there probably is.
The engineer sitting next to me offered to take the picture on his own smartphone, then text it to me. I wanted him to email it to me, because my phone company charges me for receiving images. Tomorrow, my contract with them expires and I am switching providers after about 18 years with the same company.
So he took a photo with a brilliant white flash, and only the edges of the print could be made out in the glare, so he turned the flash off and got a reasonably clear shot of the recipe.
He brought it up on screen, and asked me for my email address, which I gave to him. He then spent about five minutes trying to find out how to attach the photo to an email, and I advised him to start from scratch by putting me in his email book, then attach the photo to it with an ordinary email.
He spent about another 5 minutes trying to find a way of putting me in his address book before giving up and returning to his beer.
I got home a little later to find that he had, indeed, sent me an email. The trouble is that it was completely blank - no words, let alone a photo. It didn't even have a title.
This guy spends all his working day designing computer-controlled, endoscopic cameras, but he has one slight set-back. He is dyslexic.
About three months ago, I was in a charity shop just over the road from the pub, and I found a large, toy, yellow plastic JCB digger with working controls. It was only £3, so I bought it for my friend's small child to play in the sand-pit with.
I took it over to the pub and fitted it with batteries, and it all worked fine except for slipping a ratchet on the 'up' movement of the bucket.
"Give it to me," my engineer friend commanded, and proceeded to take it completely to bits with a small screwdriver. This took over half an hour, and when he had put it all back together again, he pronounced it unrepairable.
"Give it to me," said another dyslexic friend who was sitting the other side of the engineer.
He produced a strong elastic band and wrapped it between the end of the bucket and the seating arrangement for the child. The tension that the rubber band provided was just enough to prevent the ratchet slipping, and the toy worked perfectly thereafter.
We never let the engineer forget this small humiliation, and we also never let him forget the greater humiliation of being beaten in an arm-wrestling competition by one of the female bar-staff. It's a jungle out there.