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7 Things You May (Or May Not) Know About Me

Stuart (who’s birthday it is today) kindly tagged me to find out 7 things you may (or may not) know about me. Without further ado and cursing who’s fault it is or whose to blame for these things:

  1. I was in a “band”, the same “band” that Stuart “managed” when we were at university together. We were called Silver* and won a battle of the bands competition and were most excellent. I still have a gig poster around somewhere.
  2. I passed GCSE maths when I was 13 with a grade D. I passed it again at the more normal time and didn’t get a D.
  3. I can fold my ears.
  4. I can’t drive.
  5. I have never flown in an aeroplane.**
  6. I was born in a cross-fire hurricane in a military hospital. It still exists, but you can’t get near it for the barbed wire and checkpoints and stuff.
  7. I was once stopped and questioned, along with my brother, for shoplifting. We had been sent by mum and dad to buy some rubber grommets from a DIY shop, and had been furnished with the metal electrics box said grommets fit into in order to ensure correct size and so forth. After leaving the shop disappointed, we were called back in by a plain clothed, and not particularly burly, security guard who brought us in to be questioned by the manager. I think it was our cast-iron confidence that mum would still have the receipt for the metal box that persuaded them to let us go. That, and the obvious fear. I don’t think mum did have the receipts in the end.*** I was also once stopped by the police late at night on the way from a house of a friend who lived in a different village outside Durham, where I went to university. It rather spoiled an otherwise lovely and peaceful walk. I don’t think they had any particular reason for stopping me except that it was unusual to be walking around that night of night/early morning. I suppose I deserved it…

I’m not sure I can pass this joy on to 7 different people. However, here are some: Simon (who passed GCSE maths aged 13 and got a C), Tim, on the grounds that 50% of his blog posts in the last two years have been in response to memes passed on from me, and I’ve only passed him one before, Bill, who I don’t think even knows I read his weblog even though he’s sitting about 10 yards in front of me, Lynne, who I would think shouldn’t surprise me too much, and Andy (who I know was tagged by Stuart, but he needs a little nudge in these things).

* I sometimes regret not agreeing to the bassist’s suggestion: Penetration.
** I’ve actually been on Concorde, but it wasn’t going anywhere at the time.
*** Although she did successfully return a saucepan to the Co-op some ten years after purchase, based on a lifetime guarantee and still having the receipt.

On depressing contents notes

Perhaps the most depressing contents note I’ve come across for a while:

” … disc 5. Loss of a parent in adult life, loss of a partner or spouse and depression & helplessness (57 min.) — disc 6. Anger, aggression & violent deaths and disasters (69 min.) …”

If you must ask, this is from Colin Murray Parkes’s Bereavement, loss & change, 7 DVDs (484 minutes) of grief and depression, or at least how to cope with it, although I confess I haven’t actually actually watched it, so it might in fact be littered with cartoons, quips, good humour, and general gaiety.

New café in Sandy

Yay: a new café called the Perfect Cup opened on Monday in Sandy, taking over the former premises of Stead and Simpson across the road from Budgens, and I went to have a visit. It’s a very good location to have a café which makes good use of its enormous windows for people watching, although it’s hard to avoid the feeling you’re being watched when you’re inside. There were a good number of people doing double takes when they noticed the new café, which was fun to watch.

Perfect Cup caf� on day of opening

Initial impressions were good: it is very spacious, is nicely done out and has nice wooden furniture and a few sofas to fight over which my children tried to smear with chocolate muffin. They do a variety of coffee, off-the-shelf soft drinks, sandwiches, and cakes (muffins, millionaire shortbread, etc.) very much along the lines of a Costa Nero. The staff were very friendly too. There were a few signs that this was their first day, such as there being no stirring sticks laid out, although I sprinkle my sugar on top of frothy coffees rather than stirring it in, so this wasn’t an issue, and I could have asked I suppose.

From the point of view of someone bringing their children there, which is a big issue in Sandy, it was a mixed bag. There was a high chair and lots of space to park pushchairs, both by the door and between tables. It’s also easy to get to as it’s right in the middle of town. The drink selection was not ideal: they did a babyccino (frothy milk without the coffee underneath), which my eldest didn’t want, and some large Oasis bottles, but some fruit juice or milkshakes would have been nice. The cakes and biscuits were also a bit major, although my children had no trouble with a large chocolate muffin which they were also kind enough to share with the sofa. There were also baby change facilities, but I didn’t use those so I’ll have to spare a graphic account of that.

I’d say the coffee wasn’t as nice as Archie & Mabel’s down the road, which does one of the nicest coffees I’ve ever had. The large amount of toys and books to keep children amused at Archie & Mabel’s is also something that Perfect Cup doesn’t have, and the former also has better artwork (by local artists), which you can buy if have quite a bit of money spare. Since I last wrote on Archie & Mabel’s, you can now also get savoury snacks like crumpets and toast, as well as sandwiches. It will be interesting to see how the café market goes in Sandy. Sandwich Express has closed down and there was a sign outside it on Monday pointing punters towards P.J.’s on the High Street, which I thought was funny. I do hope that Archie & Mabel’s isn’t affected too much as it is too much of an asset to the town and, while I also would like to see Perfect Cup do well- the more choice the merrier, and the location if nothing else is excellent for a café or restaurant- Archie & Mabel’s is a more personal and charming little café that gives Sandy some personality.

Perfect Cup caf� on day of opening

There is, however, still the Mystery of the Other Room. The space that Stead & Simpson occupied is only partly occupied by the Perfect Cup. However the only entrance to the other bit appears to be through the Perfect Cup. I have heard rumours that it might be a children’s soft play area, like Café Kidz in Biggleswade. That would certainly change things. It would make sense as there are what look like boarded up windows along that side of the cafe, which presumably could be opened up a later date.

Who knows?

More pictures on Flickr.