Wednesday, 25 April 2012

BOF and the Most Efficient Holiday

Belligerently Optimistic Flatmate had a week off recently. He used it wisely, as a springboard for money-saving initiatives. I'm not sure if this is normal. Back at university, whole weeks could slip by without the achievement of a single task. Now that we're grownups, every hour not spent in useful activity is an hour wasted. 

Case in point: last year, my friend Sam (Surprisingly A Mother) had a baby. On the first day of maternity leave from her cut-throat shiny-happy job, she tweeted: 'So much free time! What shall I do with myself?'

Being green is sexy
Oh Sam. How can this be? Was it so long ago that we were students applauding ourselves each time we produced a sentence? We spent whole weeks in Topshop; hours on Facebook; days walking to and from the library in a nonchalant fashion. Not to mention all that time playing quiz machine. The very act of tweeting bespeaks an unhealthily efficient attitude to social media. 

To return to BOF, now investigating insulation. The first step was the acquisition of meters. As I understand it, the council provides such things for free on request. Apparently, our saving on electricity may amount to almost a whole pound per month. The downside is that the cold water no longer runs. How very green.

But Project Efficiency did not end here. Next came the world's most thorough washing-up episode. Pans, spoons, unused tea-pots: nothing was forgotten. It was great. BOF even took the thin vases in hand (fret not money-saving mavens, the retail orgy* that produced them took place in IKEA). They are impossible to clean: but he did have a good go at getting a sponge stuck inside one with a wooden spoon.

I should take some responsibility for the money-saving madness. I performed a devious act a few weeks back. I discovered the bargain that is Sainsbury's own brand tea

'Bring back the PG' begs BOF
27p! Eighty tea bags! Surely they couldn't be twelve times worse than your average PG Tip? 

They are. The tangy taste of dust puts a real downer on your day. What I want to do is bin them. But we've renounced waste, so we muscle through. 

BOF thinks I haven't noticed that he has been surreptitiously buying new tea and adding it to the top of the 27p box. One day, we will stumble across our Basics Tea again, decomposed to compost at the bottom of the cupboard, a small tea tree growing from it. 

We shall use it for a window box! The greenest of city activities. Equilibrium restored.

*That will play havoc with my keyword search. I've already had 'horny cockroach' bring someone to the Kate in the Countryside homepage this week. What a disappointment that must have been.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Race Riot?

Many of you expressed horror at last week's Kate in the Countryside, which saw KITC party to the worst case of sporting sabotage this century. Or so we thought. 

Trenton, mate, if you want to be taken seriously...
Then came Saturday: the day the world met Trenton Oldfiled. A self-proclaimed Suffragette of our times, Trenton is man so committed to the fight against elitism that he ignores the elitist principles of spelling even for his own name.

It was 1pm and grey when I left the Pad for the river. In my cautiously worn Blues stash I fitted in perfectly with the baying braying crowd. The mood was obnoxious and cheerful. 

Oh who am I kidding? I love the Boat Race. In spite of the weather, the banks of the Thames were heaving with enthusiasts emboldened by Pimm's. It was impossible to find anyone or to move. Cast up between a cake stall and the entrepreneurial burger table, I was in danger of accidentally buying a hot dog when my fellow spectators found me.

One, dressed in even more stash than I, had not worn a coat. 

'You must be cold?' I asked.
'No. I've got nine Blues,' he explained.

We kept moving to avoid all the other awful people, and they, us. Soon, the two boats passed, Oxford just ahead.

'Oh God,' moaned Nine Blues, 'it's only just started. We've lost.'

'Watching' the Boat Race by the Thames is a bit of a contradiction in terms. Though you are treated to a lot of atmosphere (read: tweed) you can't see much rowing. There's a good bit for about ten seconds when the boats pass near enough for you to work out which is which but, other than that, we'd had our allotted excitement. When the group in front of us were splashed by the convoy's wake and a girl dropped her drink it was already had one of the most eventful Boat Races I'd ever been to.

We wandered back down towards the start and its giant TV screen. We observed a pigeon. We wondered whether to have another lukewarm beer.

The drink-dropper seemed determined to liven things up: 'Hey look, there's a bloke in the water. Someone's fallen in!

This seemed unlikely. Rowing is a simple sport.

'It's a streaker!' I suggested optimistically.
'It's a protest,' volunteered a radio-carrying gent who was passing.

Like I say, you can't see much at the Boat Race. We called a friend.

'Some cretin jumped in. They're restarting the race,' he explained.
We all agreed that the crews should have carried on and got him.

It was at that point we gave up on the live experience and headed to a pub. As for the #boatraceswimmer, we don't need to talk about him. That pratty little man and his God complex and his beard. And his imbecilic ranting. So we won't. You know the rest. 

But be warned Oldfeild: England is unhappy with you. And we won't miss again.