Idle Eye 90 : The Milk of Human Kindness

So then, milk. When everything around you is going tits up, what better way to block out the maelstrom than to bang on about cow juice for a few paragraphs, maybe even whilst squeezing the udders of allusion along the way. Personally I can’t stand the stuff, which is probably why my body has morphed into Orville without Keith Harris up it, but I know there are those that can so I shall tread carefully.

Earlier today, Mr Pearce came to sweep our chimney. I booked him in weeks ago, so desperate was I to avoid the queue of disgruntled SSE customers, fighting back in the only way they know how (at this point I should insert the hashtag middleclassproblems but I dislike Twitter even more than I do milk, so I won’t). Anyway, about fifteen minutes before he turned up, I realised there was no milk in the fridge. Because there never is. Because it’s shit. Which presented me with a dilemma: Do I go off to the shops and get some, running the risk of missing Mr Pearce and upsetting him and his old-skool ways, or do I fly in the face of all odds and pray that he doesn’t take the statutory 50/50 mix of hot beverage/milk that is the constant of all tradesmen? Tough one, right? But being the kindly old soul that I am, I opted to ensure his cuppa would be drowning in white mucus. Which was the right decision.

If you’re not sure what I’m on about here, try this: Next time you’re getting those chunky shelves built over the telly, or getting the interweb mended or installing those to die for cast iron radiators, offer him up a cup of black coffee over the natural break. At first, you will be greeted with an ecstasy of coughing from lactose-corrupted lungs. Then the white eyes, writhing in his face, vile and bitter as the cud. And any vain hope you cherished of patronising smalltalk will be violently dashed, like smelted pig iron on a blacksmith’s anvil, leaving you helpless, afraid and pitifully vulnerable.

In short, it’s better to have a pint indoors for emergencies. UHT if you have to, but make sure there’s something suitable in or suffer the consequences. A splash of the white stuff is the trade equivalent of popping a brace of speckled hens into a lap dancer’s G-String. It’s an emollient, particularly over the troubled waters of class. And for 58 pence (nota bene, Mr Cameron), you will secure peace of mind and an unruffled path to the kind of smug never more succinctly satirised than by Patrick Nice of the Fast Show.

‘But what of Mr Pearce’, I hear you ask? Well, after I had established the status quo, we discussed his family history, the upturn in trade for Victorian fire grates and touched lightly on politics. After which I gingerly asked if he would care for another cup:

‘Naaah, Gawd bless yer, squire, I gotta run’, he went. Which was nice…

Idle Eye 66 : The Big Chill

Like you, I’m pig sick of this weather. Sick of it. Month after month of relentless, Chekhov-grey misery that has mercilessly bled into Easter and beyond and left us raw, flattened and howling for a culpable scapegoat. But who on Earth can we point the muzzle at? If we were Grasping George, it would be simple: It’s them benefit scroungers, with one hand on handouts and the other cranking the levers at the Met Office. If we were Austerity Dave, we could legitimately have a pop at the North Koreans, what with their bonkers supreme leader Kim Jong Thingy, whose big wide face has almost certainly got something to do with it. And if we were IDS, sadly we wouldn’t yet be up to speed as the telly would be off. Although, to be fair to the man, so would the heaters so he’s out of the hot seat. Sort of.

Anyway, to be honest, it’s a toss up tonight whether I continue with this nonsense or retire to the living room where there’s a roaring log fire, series two of Borgen on DVD and a potato gratin to enjoy. I could always pretend I’m sick or depressed or on short leave, which would probably have you racked with sympathy. But the truth is, I’m just fed up with being cold all the time. We all are. As I type this I have a fleece on and an attractive scarf. Inside, with the heating on full tilt. In April. Yet the breaking news we cannot escape from is that the energy giant SSE has just been fined 10.5 MILLION QUID for ripping off the general public. And, as I listened to Radio Four’s Today programme through my massive headphones with their toasty thermal pads, their corporate affairs director managed a monosyllabic apology: “Sorry”, he said. And that was pretty much it. Which seems to be all you have to do these days in order to wipe the slate clean and get on with your day. No sackings, no tribunals, no dignity. Just an unmeant soundbite on the first available news slot. And in the meantime, a nation huddles around the crystal set for the warmth of sincerity.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s actually going on here: The bitter irony of global warming as we freeze to blue inside our own homes. The weather people, the gas people and the government are all in it together. Of course they are, don’t you see? The gas people pay the government to keep it cold, who in turn bribe the weather people to turn down the switch on the proviso that the gas people give them a good deal. WAKE UP, BRITAIN!!! It’s a symbiotic gang-bang in which the only ones screwed are the end users. And that’s us, if I’m not very much mistaken. Which I probably am, to be fair. Sod it, I’m going next door: There’s ice on my keyboard.