Virtually Room 101

The other day I was reading my friend Tim’s Blog, it’s always thought provoking and on this particular day he was talking about favourite things. Read Tim’s blog here

This made me think, what if I had to list my least favourite things, possibly to go into the infamous room 101, created by George Orwell for his classic novel Nineteen Eighty Four. I then had another thought, if posed with this question, I wonder how many people would be political and cite an ‘ism’. Of course it’s right to find racism, sexism, ageism et al abhorrent, but I wonder how many people would claim an ‘ism’ just to appear righteous?

So I decided to leave politics aside, and think about what my least favourite things would be. For the sake of this post, I have allowed myself only five nominations, and they’re in no particular order. I’ve posted previously the three things that annoy the hell out me, which are: Harmonicas, People who can’t return shopping trolleys to the bay and those little sealed, plastic pots of milk that you get in cafés.  I thought that it would be quite easy to come up with the list, however it was harder than I thought. I didn’t want to just name a band, film or TV show and say because I don’t like it, I wanted to have a real reason for not liking things. So after pondering for an hour or so, at intervals between working, an afternoon passed and I’d still only come up with four things. So here they are:

1. Scented Candles I cannot abide them, they never smell like the fragrance suggested on the label, most have that dreadful cloying aroma of synthetic vanilla. My main reason for not liking them though is, for some reason, like other kinds of room fragrances they hurt my eyes; ten minutes in a room with one of these expensive but pointless products and my eyes are streaming. Finally, I wonder how many house fires have been the result of someone wanting their through-lounge to pong like a pine forest?

2. The Misuse of Apostrophes As I was writing this a friend posted two pictures on my Facebook timeline, both showed the scourge of the high street, that errant apostrophe. Now, I remember being taught in school the basics of grammar and the English language. Oh the joy of phrases like, i before e except after c, although no one told word like foreign, protein or species they had to comply. Then there’s those confusions like, everyone and every one or maybe and may be. It was only  after easily muddled-up words and phrases had been pointed out to me, that they became confusing,  and let’s not dwell on those indicative, subjunctive and imperative moods. It seems people, especially shop keepers are unable to put a up a sign without adding an apostrophe to it, Here’s (note the use of the apostrophe) one of those photographs. (Picture courtesy of Natalie Částka)


3. Selective Memory Nothing annoys me more than people who pass judgement whilst forgetting their own actions. On Television last night was the program, Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents, where parents spy on their children as they enjoy their first holiday abroad. It’s not the spying that annoys me, it’s the bloody hypocrisy. They see their children getting drunk or engaging in casual sex, suddenly they become purveyors of propriety and overcome with condemnation. Don’t these people remember what it was like to be young and carefree? Past promiscuity passes into oblivion and It seems that as we get older it becomes acceptable to forget the childish, dangerous and outlandish things we did. Because with age comes selective memory and it’s this ability to shelve memories away that means we are able as adults to be judgemental hypocrites. I did lots of things from my teen years into my late twenties that would shock, anger and some may even disgust people, the only difference I can still remember – so let the young ones have their fun. We did.

4. Oranges Now I’m quite partial to a grapefruit, I’m a fan of lemons and nothing beats a zesty lime, but an orange makes me shudder. I dislike the smell and the taste of this unimaginatively named fruit, I dislike anything that has orange flavouring also. So, there you have it short and sweet, oranges are the fourth least favourite thing on my list.

5. Spitting I had to nip to the local shop, listening to music as usual. Armed and Extremely  Dangerous, by First Choice was playing and a youth was walking in my direction, hands down the front of trackies as if the cold was threatening to freeze his testicles. Just before he passed he spat on the pavement. I went into the shop, purchased what I wanted and as I was leaving two boys were standing near the entrance, I looked over just as they both embarked on a spate of synchronised spitting. I just find the act to be repellent, I did once work with a man who had a fetish about men spitting in the street, especially if they were smoking – needless to say once the contract ended so did our contact.

To make up for the final subject matter, here’s a performance by First Choice, enjoy, especially the groovy presenter.

Unusual Names and the Snow

Last week, the snow that was promised arrived. As the streets began to cover with a blanket of white, Louise Minchin was sat on the sofa at BBC centre in Salford, asking the viewers to be careful and only take the car if it is absolutely necessary. Wise words, Ms Minchin. However I had to go out, staying in was not an option as I had an important appointment. Luckily, I thought, as my appointment is for 09.30, I can do what I have to do and be back home before the streets are under the predicted 5 cm’s of snow.100_5417

Anyway, I won’t bore you with my reason for going out, but I will tell you that while I was out I heard two instances of people having unusual names. The first was in the bank. A young, painfully skinny male was at the counter and the woman behind looked at her screen, then at him and back at her screen, before saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to pronounce your name. Is it really spelt ZZZ?”

“Yes said the boy, it’s pronounced, Zeds.”

I’m thinking that he’s changed it by deed poll. The next was I was waiting for my appointment, when the lady on reception paged a colleague, asking for Adventure Stokes to come to reception. Adventure turned out to be a girl. Shame that she has a name that sounds like a brochure for what to do on Bank holidays.

So my appointment fulfilled I popped on my headphones, switched on the iPod and was happily strolling along with Wanderlust by David Sylvian playing. On my way to the car-park I spotted this number plate and thought it’d sit nicely with today’s unusual names, so out came the camera and the snap below was taken.


I now had to drive back from town. My journey in had been relatively quick as the roads were quiet, however after a couple of hours continuous snow, the three mile journey back was a crawl at ten MPH as we all snaked our way through snow laden streets. Every traffic light stopped us, and the car at the front of the queue had the task of spinning its wheels before leading us all again slowly through the churned up snow. I was almost home, when at a mini roundabout a car to my left suddenly pulled out, meaning I had the dubious task of braking quickly, I slid forward, then to the right, I then steered into the slide and regained control as the offending driver pootled away. No harm done, I rounded the corner, parked up and went inside to enjoy the snow – through the window, as it should be enjoyed.

Note to self: Next time there’s snow predicted, phone and rearrange any appointments.

Later whilst walking in the snow, Michael Bublé featuring the Puppini Sisters, shuffled forward with Jingle Bells, from his Christmas album. It seemed appropriate in such a snowy setting that I let it play.