On those occasions when I’m struggling to comprehend the behaviour of my own countrymen, there’s one object that I only have to recall in order to reconnect myself to the innermost soul of the Brit: the teasmade.
Tea itself is the cliche of Britishness, but I think it’s the Heath Robinson madness of the teasmade that truly opens out the true desire of the typical inhabitant of this dyspeptic isle. Think of it: given the choice of any luxury, any convenience to make life a genuine pleasure, we chose to build a machine that ensures that you have your morning cuppa the moment, no the moment before you wake up. It doesn’t matter that it’s weak, pumped through uncleanable tubes, with night-old milk and effortfully lukewarm at best. It’s a cup of tea, and you didn’t have to make it yourself. Joy almost unbearable.
I don’t think I’ve seen a teasmade since staying at my granparents’ as a kid, where, in a rare display of youthful good taste, I refused the machine’s strange brew. My feelings were mixed, then, when I chanced upon the inevitable web community on teasmades. I fear that these are thin times for teasmades. There are only three models available now (read all about them in the marvellous Teasmades in the news) section, but showing that blitz spirit, the home page has a link to eBay for chasing up second-hand models.
I know I know I know things are quiet here a the moment, but rest assured that things are bouncing along. More than anything else, silence here is a reflection that those quiet little periods at home in the evening just aren’t any more. If I but had one of those awful Palm PCs on which to spend my commuting time scribbling, you would be inundated, I swear.
Too often, then, it’s just me spending a couple of minutes clearing up after the comment spammers. Even they seem to have recognised that something has changed. Where in the past this place would often be bombarded until it was throbbing with frankly eye-opening offers of all kinds from naughty women of all persuasions, these days I seem to be attracting spam about cigars, ForEx trading (zzz) and, I ask you, flowers. Sadly, also, the surreal spam names seem to have been weeded out. Now it’s just Diether and Edward, who at least seems to have found his target well: he spams with apparently random selections from Poe’s Dupin stories, adding a welcome touch of Gothic mystery to the process of deleting rubbish.
When the triple DVD of this summer’s Ashes extravaganza arrives, I’ll figuratively swallow it whole. It won’t, however, really represent my memory of what happened. That consists of the sort of half-monitoring the game experiences I described at the time.
To that end, perhaps a better souvenir will the Guardian’s collection of over-by-over reports. The over-by-overs are ostensibly a brief running description of the game for those without radio or TV coverage, but who are online. They’ve developed over time into one of those peculiar interactive rituals, each one developing its own riffs and in-jokes, mostly nothing to do with the cricket itself. Hence, it’s the closest analogue to Test Match Special itself, with puns replacing the cakes.
Take a look at representative samples from the epic, unbearable, final morning of the second test and the doldrums of the rain-and-stress affected final test.
Or settle back and review, if you dare, the whole set of OBOs for the 2005 Ashes, and feel the tension start to tingle up your arms again.
Paul Pena, the blind blues singer who featured in the documentary ‘Genghis Blues’ has died, aged only 55.
I wrote about him and the film some time ago. Given his long history of illness, his departure is hardly unexpected, but still very sad.
She had taken a correction pen and written across the back of her wheelchair:
Don’t rush me
Leave me lone