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Archive for October, 2010

Man With A Printer

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Dear Rachel

While not a gifted mathematician, I do know what a Venn diagram is.   A Venn diagram is, of course, a method of expressing differences and similarities between groups with overlapping circles.   Therefore, areas of similarity between groups will show as overlapping areas.  If you draw a Venn diagram of all the people you know who say ‘Carpe Diem’ a lot and all the people you know who you’d secretly like to punch in the face, an interesting thing happens:  it is not a Venn diagram at all, but a simple list.   Incidentally, I’m not a gifted Latin scholar either, but I have managed to work out that ‘Carpe Diem’ means ‘Do what I want’ in Latin.   If you somehow manage to not punch the next person who says ‘Carpe Diem’ at you in the face, you’ll see the truth in this.

Coincidentally, Mike says ‘Carpe Diem’ a great deal.  I may very well be punching him in the face soon – and taking a run up, to demonstrate that at least one of us can do a job properly – because we are rapidly reaching the point at which not to do so would be considered rude.   Mike, for those of you who may be unaware, is the bloke I employ as and when necessary to provide what we like to refer to as our ‘flat media’ – prints primarily, but also the glass place settings you’ll have seen if you’ve ever wandered past one of our stalls.   Mike generously refers to himself as a printer.   My right hand man and the builder of this very website, Gary, sagely refers to him as ’someone with a printer’, which is far more accurate.   Repeat offenders will recall my efforts to variously set fire to and castrate Mike over the course of this year, as a result of his attempts to end sentences announcing his persistent failures with irrelevant sweeteners – ‘I’ve not done what you pay me to do again, but at least you won’t have to pay me’ – and so forth.

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Fruity Veg Trader

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Dear Rachel

As is widely acknowledged, the worlds of filth and commerce seldom meld together more effortlessly than in the arena of fruit and veg retail.  I’ve done a fair bit of this in my time and, let me assure you, it’s like being possessed by some kind of demon.  And I do think ‘possession’ is the correct word, as you don’t make a conscious decision to spray foulness upon the grocery buying public.  It just pours out of you.  Buying fruit and veg from me is like buying fruit and veg from the girl out of the Exorcist.  Also, stepping behind a busy fruit and veg stall is, as far as I am concerned, the Wembley Stadium or Madison Square Gardens of casual retail.  You have to up your game accordingly, even if it means not only combining the worlds of filth and commerce as mentioned, but also the worlds of customer service and rape.

Quite recently, for example, I was ninety seconds into minding someone else’s fruit and veg stall when I informed a lady that the look on her face told me that she was dying to look at my plums.  She confirmed that I did indeed keep them smooth as silk, which is nicer for everyone, and that she shouldn’t squeeze them too hard in case they get bruised.

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Here Comes Autumn!

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Dear Rachel

It is the end of summer, a time of which I am rather fond.   Not that I don’t like summer – I do, it’s fine – it’s just that I will always take cosy over hot, and summer is not a cosy season.   It’s just hot.   Also, summer just happens to you, and if you don’t like it you can’t escape it.  You don’t get the  sense of achievement that you feel when sitting hammered in a pub in a howling gale.  As I think I have said before, summer is generally for people who look better the less clothes they have on, a category into which only the most kindhearted observer would continue to place me.

That said, the winter wind can really whip round a market, along the alleys and aisles formed by the rows of stalls, and the abrasive effect can be quite a trial for those of us with good cheekbones.   You soon learn cold weather survival tricks though: standing  on cardboard, for example, which keeps a surprising amount of heat in.   This is such a good trick that these days I recommend it for almost any potentially tricky or problematic situation, such as algebra, jury service, coming under sniper fire, ordering wine, and childbirth.

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