We went to Skegness at the weekend. Wet, windy, freezing; what's new! So bad that I bought two books to pass the time in the motorhome out of the cold. And what is my choice of reading material. Were they bought because they're cultural, uplifting, enlightening; or did they merely look cheap bargains in more ways than one. Book review one, the second to follow.
'How to do Everything' by Rosemarie Jarski. How modest are our American friends. Purporting to teach you 'the skills mom and dad should have taught you but never did.' (Note the use of the word mom, an Americanism if I ever saw one.) The book is trite, mundane, mind bendingly banal but at times immensely amusing. So what did I learn?
The choice of subject is at times amazing. Didn't know how to open a supermarket plastic bag. I do now! Did you know spiders hate the smell of soap and a swatted bee can bring in reinforcements. Do you know how to tie a Windsor knot, make a cat's cradle or slice a pineapple, its all there! I would have never thought of dyeing the water in a vase with food dye to match the colour of the flowers. And how many pairs of shoes do American women own. It is suggested you photograph your shoes and put the picture on the box to tell you which shoes are which! ( I have three pairs, or is it four.)
The book is mainly aimed at the ladies amongst us. Inevitably assuming the female of the species is the 'home maker' and presumably the male is the 'provider.' Not surprising therefore the bulk of the book concerns the home. How to throw the perfect dinner party, make the perfect bed, the best order in which to clean the home, all explained for 'wifeys' benefit. But amongst the advice are some real 'crackers'.
On vacuum cleaners. 'I got the wife implants for Christmas. She didn't want 'em. She wanted a Dyson.' (Roger Kavanagh, The Royle Family.)
On bed making. Did you know a man is twice as likely to fall out of a hospital bed as a woman.
On washing up. Did you know a national survey found that, given the choice, a woman would rather see a man washing dishes than dancing nude.
And one more. If noise is a problem, move to Switzerland. It is an offence to flush the toilet in an apartment after 10pm. It is also illegal to use your lawn mower on a Sunday.
So much to take in, so many new things to learn. Using the toilet, I've been doing it all wrong. 'Pull your underwear right down around your ankles. Half-mast is not good enough'. As Michael Caine would say, 'Not a lot of people know that.'
How to make the perfect cup of tea AND how to drink tea like Prince Charles AND how to read the tea leaves. (Tasseography) Try it, sure to amuse. Did you also know there are, on average each year in Britain 37 injuries involving tea cozies.
And the thing that will stay with me longest?
From the section concerning posture whilst sitting at your computer. With your right foot make clockwise circles. At the same time, draw the number 6 in the air using your right hand. Your foot will change direction. Not the most useful of all the things taught in the book, but what the hell. Well done, Rosemarie, you amused me no end.
What have you read lately, any recommendations?