On ice cream and no spoon

My younger self spent many (MANY) hours sitting on benches in various parks and town squares, eating icecream. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with friends, sometimes (and probably most often) with my siblings.

This was such a common occurrence, that we each kept an emergency spoon in our bags or wallets.

Yesterday I found myself alone in a new town, with a couple of hours to kill. It was incredibly warm, I had my luggage with me so I couldn’t do much easy sight seeing,  and to be honest, I really couldn’t be bothered to go anywhere or do anything. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to spend time doing.

On the other hand, I hadn’t drunk anything since early in the morning, and dehydration isn’t fun. 

I walked from the train station to the nearest supermarket and looked at all the ice creams on offer. Then I remembered that I no longer carry my spoon with me.

It’s been years since I had opportunity to use it… That was extraordinarily upsetting. I don’t know how I let such an integral part of my identity slide so far without even realising it.

In the end, I bought a packet of mini-milks. They have wooden sticks and taste like walking home from school as a little kid.

That was an adequate substitute, but I intend to find my spoon when I get back, and put it back in its rightful place in my purse.

πŸ™‚

On choosing

(From late January…)

Some people know exactly what they want, what they like. When they have to choose something, anything, they make their choices based on pre-decided ideas.

Say they like strawberry ice cream. If they want ice cream they will find an ice cream shop or van or stand or other vendor (probably the first one they see, or one they already know) and buy one. It doesn’t matter if they’re faced with a full range of ice cream flavours, they will choose strawberry. They won’t bother paying much attention to the mint choc chip or the coconut or the pineapple (or all the rest) because they already know that they want strawberry. They will walk away from the ice cream stand, enjoying their strawberry ice cream, totally satisfied with their choice. The rest of the day is free for new thoughts and new choices.

I am not that person (and this post isn’t really about icecream).

I probably won’t think about ice cream until I see someone eating one. Then I have to choose where to go, which of the many salespeople to support. Is it better to pay more for the person who makes it herself, but has chosen the warmest place for her stand (increasing the electricity consumption, and probably the rent, but who already has people queueing up along the pavement and is unlikely to go out of business, and maybe she doesn’t actually make it herself anyway), or to make the effort to walk that bit further to the one in the shade which looks like it could do with a paint job (but may be unable to afford the scaffolding, because everyone else is going to the new, brightly coloured place which might put them out of business completely soon, which would make the paintwork even less worthwhile. Although they might have better ice cream, because they’ve been there for ages and they wouldn’t have lasted so long otherwise, would they?) or would the newly opened frozen yoghurt place be a better option? Maybe I should wait until I go to the supermarket later? That’s better value. But then it’s not supporting anyone personally, they won’t even notice, and they aren’t environmentally friendly or efficient with their freezer lorries. But making icecream en masse is bound to be more efficient than in small batches. Except they will use preservatives and food colourings and sweeteners and…. Oh look! There’s another ice cream stand!

And that’s before I’ve even got round to looking at the flavours…

You get the idea. I won’t elaborate further.

Once I buy my icecream and walk out of the shop, all the flavours I didn’t choose start running through my head. I start wondering if I made the best choice. Maybe the peach would’ve been a good choice after all. They had sorbet, I haven’t had a sorbet for ages. Perhaps lemon would’ve been more refreshing than the coconut? Maybe they have the most amazing chocolate icecream in the whole world and I missed it because I decided I can get chocolate icecream everywhere and went for something uncommon instead. I tend to do that. If I know most of the flavours on offer (or most of the meals on the menu) I will choose something I don’t know.*

I will still be wondering if it was the best choice when I finish eating. Especially if the people I’m with are busy enthusing about how awesome their’s is/was.

***

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see talk to my favourite optician. (Told you it wasn’t a post about icecream)

I’d been to the German eye-doctor, and she’d given me the go ahead to get glasses made up and a sick note to let me off work until the end of the month.

DB was at work.
The electrician wasn’t due until the next day.

I had time on my hands.

Luckily.

***

Usually sight tests begin with the optician trying to blind you with bright lights.

My optician skipped that part because, as she said, I’d “had more than [my] fair share of bright lights shone in [my] eyes recently”. Did I mention that she’s my favourite optician?

The first test lenses brought back the outlines – exhilarating, after almost a month of blur. After the initial leap towards sight, we started fine tuning and the world, my world, slowly came [back] into focus. A couple of degrees more or less, a quarter of a dioptre here or there, B is suddenly better than A and you can look across the street and read the adverts in the shop windows. The ones you only knew were there because all shops have windows and most of them advertise something. Incredible really.

After witnessing the world become clearer and clearer, I was reluctant to take the test glasses off.

(A side note for anyone who has perfect eyesight and never had need of an eye test: the test glasses are bulky, heavy, uncomfortable things. They slot various lenses in and out of the chunky frame, asking whether A is better or worse than B. Usually it’s tedious and you want to take them off as soon as possible. This time it was amazing and I wanted to keep them on.)

I did though, hard as it was, when she promised to get my glasses made up as soon as possible.

***

Turns out that was the easy part.

The hard part was choosing a pair of glasses that I liked, that I could wear everywhere and with everything, that didn’t block my view, but that didn’t dig into my cheeks. A pair that would be strong enough to cope with nights next to the tissue box on my bedside table, and being squished every time I pull a jumper over my head without thinking about it, without being too heavy. I don’t like seeing the frame when I’m trying to look at the world, although to be honest, I don’t really like seeing ANYthing get in the way of what I’m looking at. I don’t like it when the lenses are so tiny that you end up peering at things, and yet I also don’t like the HUGE lenses that make you look like a fly. I don’t want the corners to turn upwards or downwards. I don’t want Harry Potter style round ones.

(Yes, I’m a fusspot, tell me something new..).

Why don’t they only stock 3 frames?! There could be a range of colours, the same for each design.. but it would make it easier to choose. πŸ™‚

***

The optician is amazingly patient, in a way I can only dream of imitating. She handed me pair after pair of glasses, alternately held the mirror or the next pair, suggesting this or that and guiding me slowly towards a final choice.

2 hours later (see? there’s a reason for my favouritism!) I left the shop with a small collection-reminder-card, not that I really needed it. She knows me and my prescription (and presumeably) most of her other customers, by heart. She had my contact lenses, back when I wore them, in her hand ready for me between seeing me walk through the gate and actually entering the shop.. And she’d promised to phone me when they were ready to collect, so I didn’t even need it for the date.

But anyway. There I was with the card.

The card that meant I’d made a choice, and that in a couple of minutes when she’d phoned the order through, it would be too late to change my mind.

I walked home in a fuzzy haze. You miss seeing so much more when you’ve just been shown how much you’d see if you could see. If that makes sense.

Weather was good though πŸ™‚

***

A niggly thought crept up to me on the way home and ran round my head for the next couple of days.

“What if they look really stupid? Maybe I should have chosen those other ones. Maybe I should have taken DB in with me after all. Maybe they’re meant to be for old people and I’ll age 40 years when I put them on. Maybe the colour’s wrong, there were some other colours in the same style, maybe I should have gone for them instead? Maybe maybe maybe…..

Argh.

Sometimes I could do with an off-switch in my head.

******

They turned out to be 3 parts of perfect πŸ™‚

– not that they could have been anything else really, my optician would never let me out with something she couldn’t be proud of –

Now I just need to work on being happy with my choices at the time I make them! πŸ™‚

******

 

* Note to other adventurous icecream eaters: Indian “sugar apple” is not a good flavour for icecream (nor, according to my one real, born-and-grown-up-in-India, Indian friend, for anything else). That was the first and only time I have ever been unable to eat more than a couple of teaspoons of icecream. Ever. And I am a pretty good icecream eater πŸ˜‰ Luckily, on that rare occasion, my brother was here to stay. Even though we’d agreed to buy two unknown flavours and go halves he came to my rescue and ate my half for me. He even forfeited most of his half of the lychee icecream (which I also won’t order again, but which was a whole lot more edible than sugar apple) AND he still speaks to me πŸ™‚ Isn’t he awesome?! Obviously, he’s awesome for a million reasons, but saving me from the horrors of sugar apple icecream is a very important factor ;).

On scrambled eggs and ice cream for breakfast

I woke up with a sore throat and a blocked nose this morning.

The most logical thing to do (in my mind) was eat ice cream for breakfast…

…so I did.

DB doesn’t approve, but he doesn’t have to eat any, so it’s not his problem.

Besides, I’m English, and it seems we ‘always’ eat strange things for breakfast.

***

Here, there are a lot of English/British people. (Also a lot of Germans, but that’s irrelevant to the next part of the story).

Every time DB sees anyone walking past, he guesses where they’re from. Mostly he bases his judgment on language or clothing, but it seems eating habits are just as telling..

Yesterday, we came past a restaurant on our way back from the bakery. Lots of people sat outside, eating breakfast.

DB: Look! English people!
Me: Yeah? How do you know?
DB: They’re eating scrambled eggs on toast, and it’s not 10 am yet. They can only be English…

So now you know.

πŸ™‚

On perfume shopping (part 1)

– or shopping with SD continued-

I’ve experimented with perfume even less than with make-up.

I hate it when people leave scent trails, unless they’re REALLY good ones, and then I stalk them MWAHAHAHAHAA!!! No. I don’t really stalk people. I’m just really fussy about the ones I would stalk if it was down to smell.

My dearest DB asked me to buy myself a perfume, which he would then pay for when he next saw me. I wasn’t keen on the idea, but it seemed important to him (I don’t think he was trying to tell me something…) and I’m one of those people who love to please πŸ˜‰ so we went into one of the smelliest shops in the city……and failed.

I sprayed a million strips of what felt like good drawing paper with a million different chemical offerings. Nowhere in the whole shop was a perfume to be found that actually smelt of a specific thing, be it peaches, roses, lavender, cloves, or bleach*. SD thought the idea that perfume should represent anything hilarious. Also, it is impossible to sniff more than about 5 or 6 different perfumes without deadening your nose to everything. I have no idea how anyone chooses a perfume based on anything other than the bottle or the name.

After a very long time, and even more persuasion, I sprayed one onto me instead of the paper strips. SD chose one she wanted to buy and we left.

SD’s boyfriend was waiting for us when we came out. SD held my arm up to his nose and asked what he thought. Confusion doesn’t come close to describing his expression. Once she’d explained that he was supposed to give us his opinion on the perfume, he duly obliged, sniffing and saying it was ‘very nice’ in that polite way people do when they don’t actually care, but don’t want to offend. I could understand his lack of interest – if anyone had asked me a week earlier I wouldn’t’ve reacted any differently. We wandered towards the clothes and jewellery shop, chatting about random things, until SD remembered she’d been successful and waved her own wrist at him. He pulled a face and said, β€œwhat on earth’s THAT???” Which was much more honest, but didn’t go down very well, especially since mine had received a rather different reaction.

She stomped off ahead, leaving us to exchange glances, and trail after her.

We didn’t make things better when she asked us what we thought of a salmon coloured shirt. As a style-no-hoper, I got away with saying I didn’t like the colour much, her dear boyfriend, who also didn’t appreciate the delicate orange tones, got the full brunt of her displeasure. I can’t say I was jealous πŸ˜‰

I bought earrings and a couple of flowery hairslides – they’d at least keep the hair out of my eyes if nothing else – and I was fully kitted out to go to the party.

Once we were all thoroughly tired of shopping, we went to buy icecream.

Icecream can make a lot of things better, and I can’t actually say I hadn’t enjoyed myself, but I think in future I need a fairy Godmother with a magic wand – getting all prettied up was never that much work in the fairytales!

Oh yeah, and the sandals had made holes in my toes while I was walking.

 

* No. I don’t want to smell like bleach. I just wanted them to make their perfume smell like something.

On what I learnt at circus school today

  • Keeping a group of seven 7-12 year old boys together for 2 hours while changing rooms 12 times (circuit training) is a challenge.
  • Keeping your cool even more so πŸ˜‰
  • They are amazingly willing to please, as long as you tell them EXACTLY what you want them to do and why… Ok, so they still don’t always do it, but they’re a whole lot better than if you think they’ll figure it out by themselves (“When this training session is over, I want you ALL to wait for me at this door *points*, so that we can all go to room x – that’s the room next to the kitchen – in one group. If you run off, I’ll have to waste time coming to find you, and then we won’t be able to start on time and that means you get less time juggling/jumping/balancing/etc.” -> “this door?” “where’s the kitchen?” “Soandso’s missing” “hey! come back, you’re supposed to wait for the rest of us!” :)). I only worked this out 20 minutes before the end of the session. I was fed up of chasing them in 7 directions, round them up and herding them back to where they where supposed to be so I had a small headfit told them it wasn’t working and explained what I expected of them when we left the next room.
  • I’m much more likely to cheer on the ones who are struggling, than applaud the ones who can do it first time round (may have to work on that..)
  • Girls are more likely to make fun of my accent.
  • I still can’t juggle.
  • Or use a microphone properly – but I’m learning πŸ™‚
  • But I CAN still twizzle sticks in the air and catch them again (I think they’re called devil sticks? not sure)
  • AND whizz poi about πŸ™‚
  • I can’t follow instructions (and there I was, thinking I was such a great leader-by-example ;)). My group and I had a ‘magic lesson’ involving a piece of rope and the instruction to “do EXACTLY what the magician said/did”… I only figured out why I was stranging myself instead of having the ropes fall off me when he explained it to me. The second or third time.
  • I can survive standing in front of 130 odd kids leading the actions from the action-songs (even if I don’t know the words or half the actions ;)).
  • I can also survive being one of the leading roles in a mini-theatre..
  • My phone can’t play Youtube videos.
  • Making sure 2 tables of 6 small people are kept fed and watered is a lot of work. The benefits are the extra icecream you get to eat πŸ˜‰

So. I think that’s it for the day. I’ll keep you posted.