We tried two new things on Saturday, which was our proper Valentine’s Day because I had The Longest Working Week ever. The combination of a lot of hours in the office and the tail end of a bad cold wasn’t the best. Thankfully we had the anticipation of a nice date night to keep me going.
We had been to the former eatery that was the Hot Stove several times. Our last meal there had been pleasant but not especially memorable. I read a review of the new iteration some weeks ago and it prompted me to book a table before we went to the theatre. Mr. Fox was really enjoyable and the food was far better than we’d expected. The wine is decanted from casks into nice chunky bottles which suits my zero waste leanings. The food was delicious and we treated ourselves to oysters before our starters. I’ll be trying the deer tartare if I get the chance again.
After this lovely meal, we went to see Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris in the Gate. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but I wouldn’t rush back. The singing was good but it wasn’t something we’d rave about. However, a night at the theatre is always a good time and we’re already planning our return to see a Noel Coward play.
This is not a story about how much of a Nirvana fan I was. I came to their music late, long after they were at the peak of their success and long after they had stopped making music. When Nirvana were popular, however, I was a ten year old girl living a sheltered life. While my father was into music, our pop culture references were few and far between. His record player didn’t work, but his tape player in the car did and I had a steady diet of very old Hank Williams and the Elvis Sun Sessions. I still love hearing that music today. We had a very old TV that had a about six stations on a good day and I’d turn off BBC1 at 7pm on a Thursday because I didn’t want to hear the music. We had no VCR so if we didn’t see something that was that.
Now I have Netflix and Virgin Media TV channels galore. I have Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. I have news and entertainment on tap. I can see almost any news report or music video within seconds. Today I watched footage of the Berlin Wall coming down, with a chaser of Melissa McCarthy’s Spicy Act. I was inspired to write this post after watching a BBC4 documentary on 20 years of rock anthems. I can write this while streaming something else to entertain me. I have woken up at night in a panic and been able to grab my phone and see on Twitter that the UK had voted to leave the EU and that a reality TV star was on the brink of election.
Do I check these things obsessively because I’m telling myself I want to be informed about the state of the world? Or am I consuming these stories because they’re now as much part of being entertained as which movie star is having an affair and with whom? Am I now expecting life to have a series of entertainments, of which politics and current affairs form a part? Is the latest compelling press conference just something that’s offered to us because we’re here, and we expect to be entertained? Or are these just lyrics from a song that became a hit and meant that the hair bands had to rethink their sales pitch?
I caved and have washed my hair a few times with shampoo, about once a week on average. I’m going to use up every half-finished bottle and then reassess the no shampoo thing. Shampoo bars look interesting.
Our local supermarket has greatly increased the loose fruit and vegetable selection. I can get pretty much all the fruit I want (apart from grapes) without packaging, expect for the annoying stickers on the apples and oranges. I have found the vegetable selection more limited, but I can get enough of what I need and get creative with my cooking. I’ve managed to get some salad vegetables, tomatoes and broccoli loose elsewhere.
I have discovered an amazing bakery very close to our house and as it makes the bread onsite and I can walk to it and use my old muslin cloths to wrap everything its working out great. You need to get there early though, as we discovered when we popped in on a Saturday afternoon to be greeted by empty shelves.
I’m continuing the decluttering and using what I have mindset. Instead of buying a second mattress protector for our bed for the time when the one we have is in the wash, I figured a two fitted sheets would work just as week. I made it through Ikea without buying anything unnecessary and realising all the various boxes I had at home would work just fine.
There’s spare drawers in some chests of drawers, spare cubby holes in our old Expedit unit and spare space in my wardrobe as I have no desire to buy anything, especially since getting a well loved coat and cape properly cleaned.
I have retreated to the Chalet School in recent weeks, partly out because I’ve managed to track down several difficult-to-find unabridged editions to replace my paperbacks and mainly for reasons of sanity, self-preservation and to quell the constant low level anxiety that’s been hiding at the pit of my stomach.
It’s oddly comforting to know that there’s a universe where I know they’ll make it through the chaos of the 1930s unscathed and filled with stiff upper lips and shoulders being put to the wheel to defeat a foe. It’s also nice to read that the school doesn’t believe in shielding the children and young adults in its care from bad news-we’re told they don’t want to raise jellyfish but strong and able women. There is, however, only so much bad news one can take each day and the Chalet girls weren’t living in a world with endless access to ceaseless media chatter.
Living in a world where openly mocking disability and using the coarsest of language to describe how you treat women doesn’t stop millions people voting for you and an electoral college rubber stamping your rise to public office is difficult, to say the least. Jolly difficult and frightfully unnerving. I can’t help but feel that the fines for slangs weren’t the worst idea.