Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Cut price Lifestyle and sharp practice


I know I said I only have to finish two jobs before I ice the cake, but thanks to my very unglamorous  assistant, I think it is going to be one. Words cannot express the feeling of fury and frustration he has caused in me over the last few weeks, for simply not finishing the only job which stands between me and the Workhouse this Christmas, and what a complete and utter tit I feel for ever believing that he would.

He attempted to deliver the carved urn to me in the dark last night, muttering that there is 'a little cleaning up' to be done to it, but even in the half light of the back of his car I could tell the the cabbages scratched into its side which are supposed to represent roses, bore no resemblance to the ones on the urn he is supposed to be copying.

I had better not say any more for the sake of my blood pressure, but there were some scenes on the road in public last night when I shocked the neighbours by shouting to him that he was a complete waste of FUCKING time. Suffice to say that I am picking up the bloody thing today no matter what state it is in, and if I have to spend the three days finishing it off myself as I suspect I will, then I will be picking up the keys to my workshop at the same time.

I took a few deep breaths, then returned home to tell H.I. the latest news about it, and she helpfully said something like, "I told you so", so I went to the computer to check my emails only to find she had painted the area around it where I naturally rest my hands to type, with a paint which takes about 5 days to dry, especially in the winter. I stick to it as I write this.

It reminded me of how once - when I lived in the country - I returned home to my dark cottage to discover that someone had painted the black doorknob blacker, using a similar paint which takes days to dry. That was somewhere either side of Christmas as well - I know that, because the place was deep in snow.

H.I. - being a Northerner - works herself up into a cleaning frenzy on a regular basis. I, on the other hand - being a slovenly, male Southerner - follow the Quentin Crisp school of household management by sleeping in filthy linen, surrounded by thick layers of slut's wool.

If we had a sandstone doorstep, then H.I. would be out there on her hands and knees, scrubbing it with a brush every Monday, like they used to do in Coronation Street before East Enders was invented.

Despite the fact that only the kids are coming on the 24th, she is starting to behave as if the Queen were popping round for a cup of tea, having given two weeks notice so we can prepare for it.

She told me to get some decent knives and forks for The Boy and his girlfriend, as they are lacking good cutlery, so I took a stroll round the Saturday Market, coming home with the above knives and the wolf skull.

These knives are the posh version of a famous French folding-knife made by a company called Laguiole, and have been made for many years. I spotted them and asked the stall holder how much, and he thought for about a minute before saying £8.

When I took them home, H.I.'s eyes lit up and she picked one up to fondle it. I looked them up on the net and found out two things - that the handles are made of a natural, metamorphosed kaolin rock called Nacrite (and not plastic as I first thought), and that they retail at about £200 for six.

That was that. The Boy and his girl will have to have something else, because these knives are going in our drawer. They can use them for the dinner I am cooking on Christmas Eve, though. We're quite generous like that.

32 comments:

  1. You will find that the knives and forks will be much better for cutting up food than the plastic ones you have been using from the takeaway..

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  2. Oh dear - you do get yourself in a bit of a state ~ no good for your blood pressure at all. Take deep breaths and try to find the Christmas spirit. As for the knives they are rather lovely - being brought up in Sheffield we always had good knives and forks - I have some lovely steak knives with silver engraved knobs on the end. How old do you think your knives are - they look very 30's to me. Not bad for £8.

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    Replies
    1. H.I. is from Sheffield, and the knives are modern, though the design is probably 17th century.

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  3. I know how H.I feels ……. I clean everything when someone's coming [ it's good though as it makes me do it ]
    Love the knives …. I once made the mistake of buying some cheap French look-a-like cutlery and the handles all broke off !! …… you get what you pay for I guess.
    ….. I would have kept them as well !!!! XXXX

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    Replies
    1. I know how H.I. feels as well, but it's been a while since I felt her. Last time, something broke off.

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    2. Hahahahahahah !!!! Great reply !! XXXX

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  4. HI's attitude to cleaning and Christmas had me smiling Tom - as a indred Northerner I am just the same. It is no good anyone telling me that Christmas decorations and wrapping paper etc. will make a mess and that the real cleaning is better done afterwards - everywhere will still be scoured beforehand.

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  5. Replies
    1. I bet you say that to all the murderers.

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  6. I admire knives like that every time we go to France. What a find!

    I love a good clean up. Makes me feel calm after.

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    Replies
    1. For me, it is the reverse. Maybe it's a male-slut thing?

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  7. If I had been asked to go on a specific mission to purchase cutlery for a suitable Christmas present for one of my children and came across this set I would most certainly hand them an alternative which I am sure they might also appreciate.

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    1. Is that a vindication of my perfidious and avaricious behaviour?

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  8. Well, as a born Scouser but an adopted Surrey-ite, I can vouch for the warm glow of a job well done after cleaning the house from top to bottom today. Just a quick flick and vacuum of the sitting room rug on Christmas eve, and all will be bright and calm. PS the knives are beautiful - I am envious.

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    Replies
    1. There's no such thing as a quick flick in this household, unless you are talking about nocturnal onanism.

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  9. I take it that the assistant has been fired. Or murdered with some really snazzy looking knives???

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    Replies
    1. Tomorrow will provide an answer to that.

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    2. Are you already on the run from the law?

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    3. Nope. I don't kill people who piss me off, I just make their lives miserable.

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  10. I've got a set of Laguiole knives. Well, actually I used my husband's birthday as an excuse to buy them so they're his really. They only come out on special occasions because I don't like putting them in the dishwasher.

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    Replies
    1. We have never owned a dishwasher, so this is not a concern of ours.

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  11. My only moan about Laguiole is that they don't sit correctly when resting against the edge of a plate; they tip over. Hence my opting for an Opinel for eating. Otherwise I own several; all bone handled cheepos.

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    Replies
    1. I'll test this theory in the morning and get back.

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  12. -love the knives. I have the TK Maxx plastic-handled version...

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    Replies
    1. The steel is just as good, and TK Maxx does have good bargains.

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  13. Replies
    1. I love your comments and will now try very hard to reply to all of them x

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