Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Heavy Metal

We already have self-cleaning oven panels. But when is someone going to invent the self-cleaning oven rack?
This has become a pressing issue for me recently. Now that I have to fit the writing of this blog into my busy schedule of sleeping and watching Coronation Street, I'm consuming larger quantities of oven-ready pizza. And these pizzas - the new Staff of Life for poor white trash couch potatoes - drip glutinous deposits of melted cheese and E numbers onto the oven shelves.
Until science comes to the rescue, here is this month's Good Housekeeping Tip. Because of the size of most modern cookers, the oven shelves are too large to fit in the average kitchen sink. So soak them in a hot bath for a couple of hours with a generous quantity of Fairy Liquid.
Those of an environmental bent may wish to save energy by getting into the bath with them. However be very careful not to become entangled with the metal racks. If the neighbours see you setting off for A. & E. with an oven rack attached to your penis they may conclude that you have taken your penchant for genital jewellery a step too far.

The Adventures Of Carlo Episode 28

A phone call from the nearest railway station just after lunch informed us that my old friend Sandy Mannington-Preen would be with us within the hour. Carlo rushed out to buy some flowers to put in the bedroom, which I thought was rather excessive.
Then, as we heard the taxi pull into the drive, we formed a welcoming party in the hall. Throwing down two enormous suitcases and several Harrods bags, Sandy shouted "Carlo!" and hugged him. You really would think that someone from Sandy's background would know better than to commit the solecism of greeting the domestic staff before his host.
After that, we adjourned to the drawing room where Carlo served us a pot of my finest Assam and some cucumber sandwiches.
Sandy said he had brought a video he had made in Manila which included some messages from Carlo's family. At least this would be less boring than those interminable slide shows he gave us in days gone by. On one memorable occasion the projector had caught fire and we sat and watched an image of the Saudi embassy melting in the dark like MacArthur Park. "Every cloud has a silver lining", my late father had said as he unplugged the projector and sprayed it with a soda siphon.
Our conversation was interrupted by the doorbell. It was Mrs Skidmore who handed me a Christmas card. I told her she had already sent one and she laughed and said her memory was going. I knew perfectly well that the card was a pretext to discover who had been in the taxi.
Unfortunately, Sandy came into the hall to take his cases upstairs so I had to introduce them. In a matter of seconds Mrs Skidmore was inviting Sandy to give a talk to a meeting of the Women's Institute the following afternoon. I was desperately mouthing 'No' behind her back but to no avail. "It will be a pleasure", he said, placing her arthritic hand between his, "and, indeed, an honour".
Back in the drawing room, Sandy said it was a splendid idea of mine to take him to the Rod and Mullet that evening, although I had said no such thing. "Does Roger still have those lock-ins?", he said. "Roger has left", I replied, "but judging by the quantities of vomit deposited at my gates I assume the tradition continues."
"Splendid!", said Sandy.

Next time: a Titanic disaster


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