Friday, February 27, 2015

Bamboozled By Labels ...

So what the fuck is it - pardon my French - with packaging these days? Every time I see something marked "ouverture facile" I feel my temples starting to throb and I get a sinking feeling in my gut as it brings back memories of the bad old days when a hostess would stroll down the aisle on short-haul flights and casually toss a few impenetrable packets of crackers in your lap (no point in giving you actual food poisoning if you're not going to be stuck in a steel tube at 30 000m altitude long enough to really appreciate it).

You knew damn well that by the time you'd wrestled the thing to the ground and ripped it open with your teeth (or, if careful about dental hygiene, the dentures of the guy sitting next to you) the crackers would have been reduced to fine dust ...

Anyway, hope springing eternal and all that, a label such as that makes me think "Aha! I have just to prise up that little corner and pull, and then half the plastic film will pull off and then it will start to tear and I will gash my wrists on the razor-sharp edges ..." but it's not even that easy.

What it really means is that if you happen to have a set of hydraulic shears about your person it is relatively easy to slice through the Kevlar-reinforced vacuum-shrunk packaging (whilst reducing the contents to an unmentionable pulp) probably with only minor flesh wounds, at which point - once the first flush of triumph has faded - you can chuck the lot out and go get some bandages before trying to open a tin of something instead, first checking that your can-opener is certified for use on titanium alloys.

And then there's another of my pet peeves, those biscuit packets that come with a handy tear-off strip around one end, to facilitate opening - what bloody genius decided that the location of this strip should only be visible from inside the packet?

We were honoured by André's presence the other day, and he straightaway set to plumbing mightily on the first floor. Of course this involved turning the water off from time to time - great fun if you just happen to be, as it might be, actually in the shower - and a few imprecations which I shall not repeat because you are a) of a delicate nature and b) ignorant of French swearing, probably just as well as it can be quite inventive and extremely vulgar.

But that was OK, and eventually he left, having done his worst, and it wasn't until around 19:00 when I was cooking that I noticed that there was no water in the kitchen.This is not particularly convenient, but as I was sure that he'd just closed a valve and forgotten to open it again I went upstairs and looked at the handiwork. He'd installed a nourrice - sort of a distributor with hot and cold water coming in, and any number of feeder pipes going off in different directions to bathrooms and such, each with their own valve.

Easy, I thought: just leave the taps on in the kitchen and open valves until water starts spurting out - of course I'd forgotten that most of the pipes headed off to bathrooms as yet unfinished, with no taps at the end of them ... the resultant flooding was not particularly dramatic, and no drownings were reported.

After that débâcle I actually managed to get him on the phone and he suggested gently that I try taking the filter off the kitchen tap: sure enough, it was totally gunged up with a loose bit of Teflon that had got in there. I guess I shall never make a plumber.

And the next morning we woke up to find ourselves completely without water. Fortunately, before ringing André yet again and giving him a piece of my mind I looked outside and saw the municipal workmen wandering about, happily turning off mains supplies in preparation for a bit of work. Just as well, I was feeling rather paranoid by then.

Don't know about you, but I find this well worth a look. Then go take a look around the other articles while you're at it.

Whatever, I have received word from The Elder One that I've been a bit dilatory recently and that she is Not Impressed, so I suppose I really ought to push the go-button on this before anything worse happens. Mind how you go, now.


  1. The Elder One
    An eldritch creature from the abyss of madness, I assume.

  2. She's your niece, so yeah, I guess so ...