I’m weird, you’re weird

I always eat a sandwich in exactly the same, but, bizarre way. And it doesn’t matter what the filling is. Yesterday it just happened to be a delicious BLT Guido had made for me.

The bread was powder white, the iceberg lettuce was shredded, the tomato was a juicy red buffalo and the bacon was grilled to perfection. It goes without saying things went flaky when I started to eat and I’m not referring to the sandwich. I have culinary musts.

1. Must be served on a plate. Preferably oval but any shape will do in a crockery emergency.

2. Must be cut into two horizontal parts. Four triangles? I’m not a three year old.

3. Must peel back the top slices off first and eat those both separately before anything else. Which then obviously necessitates an urgent need for cutlery.

4. Squiggle a line of ketchup precisely. This should be exactly 6 centimetres in length but absolutely MUST NOT touch the bread.

I could probably carry on right beyond number 10 but I’ve limited word count.

“Do you have any idea how weird you are?” Guido asked me staring at my deconstructed lunch.

”Yes,” I said, “and it’s taken me years of careful practice to get to this point.”

”In fact I’d go so far as to say you’re possibly the weirdest person I know,” he said.

Which I have to tell you was pretty rich coming from Guido, who always religiously reads the back of a shampoo bottle whenever he’s in the shower.

”Though I have to say you have some peculiar idiosyncrasies yourself,” I said measuring my squiggle.

Here’s the thing. When Guido gets dressed in the morning he insists on putting his clothes on in a strict order. He never deviates. Boxers first. Socks. Shirt. Then lastly, jeans. If he throws everything on in a rush he can get quite discombobulated and has to strip off and start all over again. Which is a pretty big deal at 5.30 in the morning.

”Prove it,” he said slouching back in his chair.

I crunched a piece of bacon. I drew up a long and extensive mental list. I wondered what to pick first and which to leave out and what would make him sound even more of a freak than I was.

”For starters you read newspapers backwards,” I said.

I lifted the top left hand piece of bread and nibbled the gooey bit first.

“You always set the volume level on the TV to 10, even if this means neither of us can actually hear it. If I turn it up to 12 you turn it back down to 10.”

By the way, I leave the crusts for last.

”You’re afraid of birds. Particularly one randomly landing on your head.”

I lifted the top right hand piece. It was gooey too but not overly. This was good. Infact on a scale of gooeyness it was a 5. Having a scale of gooeyness is not in any way weird.

“I once saw you eat ice cream with a fork,” I said.

Speaking of forks – I needed one.

“And, you have the ability to sneeze with your eyes still wide open.”

There was a brief silence.

“But hey some of my weirdness I know you definitely like.” He cocked an eyebrow.

There was another brief silence. I was happy for him to prove it.

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Stuck on you

Sometimes people have a very specific view about their lives and unfortunately it isn’t always exactly the same as someone else.

”If your life was suddenly turned upside down what would you do?” asked Guido over lunch today. “I mean, think about it. Imagine everything you thought was real and dear to you, wasn’t.”

This is what happens round here. Guido ambitiously decides to substitute grilled chicken strips for jumbo prawns in his paella, then starts to question the meaning of life.

”Like what?” I said sipping a very cold glass of white wine. By the way it was barely noon but I was drinking alcohol, and I’m making no apologies for that.

I had some terrific Sauvignon Blanc in one hand and a Greek olive on the end of a cocktail stick in the other. Everything was normal and real and as far as I could tell I was the right way up. The wine was cold, the olive was salty and earlier, when Guido and I had been in bed, we’d had terrific sex without any extraneous assistance. Sometimes you just have to live dangerously folks.

”Well,” said Guido crunching a breadstick, “Arnold, the guy who delivers the sacks of potatoes to the cafe every week, told me Friday his wife Alice had just run off with his best friend.”

I’ve actually met Arnold. He has a very small body with tiny little arms and legs but a very large and oversized bald head. What he can’t tell you about a potato probably isn’t worth knowing about in the first place.

”Look on the bright side,” I said optimistically with my mouth full, “I expect Arnold will probably be much happier without her.”

”Nope,” said Guido shaking his head. “The bank account with all his savings in it is in his wife’s sole name. Arnold thinks they might have both fled to Belgium.”

Which, if you’re serious about fleeing a husband who resembles a Mr Potato Head then, it’s probably just as good a place to go as any.

“Okay,” I said, “then maybe there’s no bright side to look on after all.”

Guido took another crunch.

“Arnold wanted to know if I had any idea how to alert Interpol,” Guido said in all seriousness. Which just goes to show the sort of idiotic questions a humble London cafe owner is expected to field these days.

I took another sip of wine.

”Poor guy,” I said, “I suppose for us it would be a bit like me running off with your best friend Ted.”

And trust me, you have to perish that thought for my sakes. For a start Guido has no money to steal and the dire condition of Ted’s boney knees means I don’t think he’d be able to flee much further than just south of Pimlico without being on the verge of collapse. Let alone the watery shores of Antwerp.

”Hey kiddo,” I said, “you’re going to be stuck with me for a very long time indeed. I won’t be fleeing any where any time soon. Our world is exactly the way it should be.”

I thought about Alice blissfully enjoying a potato free existence on continental Europe. For her sakes I just hope it’s all worth it.

Oh by the way. If you ever need Interpol you can call them on 616-9000.

I’ll have what he’s having

We’ve had snow in London twice now in a single month. That’s almost unheard of around here. The way some people have been behaving you’d think the whole world was teetering dangerously on the brink of some sort of Armageddon. And don’t even get me started about the public transport system.

I was standing in line for the bus last week when a random dude pushed right in front of me.

I’m late for work – with a capital F!” he shouted at me. “Fine,” I yelled back, “with a capital F!

“That’s what I love about this city,” said my friend Marc, “in times of need total strangers still have a complete disregard for their fellow man. I’m surprised he didn’t take your head off.”

Marc had stopped by the cafe for a bowl of something hot and steamy. He chose a cup of Guido’s carrot coriander soup. It’s been flying out of the door all day. I can highly recommend it if you’re having a day with an F in it.

“Yeah, whatever happened to the Blitz spirit that glued us all together?” I said, “All I know is my mother resorted to panic food shopping at Harrods. Apparently she ended up back at her apartment and all she had was a bottle of raspberry flavoured gin, a jar of pickled turnip tops, and a home macaroon making kit.”

I tried to imagine what my mother would do with all of that stuff. She’d call it – Hors D’oeuvre, Entrée and Dessert. Of course if she was hungry enough she’d have ended up over here at the cafe picking something delicious from the specials board.

“Listen, I think if we were denied copious amounts of food for a few days we’d all be in much better shape,” Marc sighed slowing patting his mid-riff.

“Are you kidding me?” I said, “God forbid.”

I tried to imagine a dinner without linguine smothered in garlic oil and trust me it wasn’t pretty.

“As you know I act like a crazy person when I’m hungry.” I said.

I dipped my bread crust vigorously into my Miso broth. It instantly went pleasingly soggy.

“I remember starving myself through my last banana diet. One night I found myself sobbing uncontrollably on the sofa during an episode of Hawaii 5-O. Rather than admit to a perverted craving for rocky road baked cheesecake I told Guido I was moved by the rugged beauty of Steve McGarrett’s chest hair.”

There was a pause for obvious reasons.

”I get it. At times like that baby,” said Marc, “all you want is comfort food.” He licked his spoon when he said that.

I thought about what comfort really meant to me. Naturally I thought about maple syrup. Who wouldn’t? I thought about the endless possibilities of good mayonnaise.Then inexplicably my brain made a connection to Guido’s thighs. Imagine if all that was rationed and in short supply. Life wouldn’t be much worth living.

”We all appreciate the special things in our life,” said Marc. “I guess that’s why I keep eating here.” He took another mouthful of soup.

That was reassuring.

So if the real Armageddon ever does happen, do take the time to stop by. In the unlikely event there’s nothing you fancy on the menu, I’ll get Guido to quickly rustle something up for you.

Music to make love to

When Guido and I lived in the loft above The Spanish Onion our immediate neighbours were a lesbian couple called Bethany and Ethel. We always knew when they were having sex because of the groaning emanating through our walls. Sometimes the electricity power would inexplicably fluctuate and the floor boards would creak like they were manoeuvring a baby grand. One morning after a particularly passionate session I bumped into Ethel in the street outside.

”Did the earth move for you?” I asked.

Everytme they got amorous after that they’d turn up their music system to try to mask what they were up to. Let’s just say their taste in music was eclectic. Guido would always wait until everything had gone completely quiet, then he’d rattle our headboard against their bedroom wall and crank up “It’s Raining Men” at full volume. I honestly don’t think they saw the funny side.

There is a point to this story.

My father came round to the cafe for breakfast yesterday.

“I’m taking a lady friend back to my place tonight,” he nibbled his buttered toast furtively, “and I want things to be perfect.”

“Who is she?” I’m nothing if not direct.

”Let’s just call her special,” he nibbled, “I want the ambiance to be absolutely perfect.”

He’d bought toxic wine, he had scented candles, and was planning on scattering floor cushions. What woman would not be utterly seduced by this? Except now he was stuck on appropriate music. This was not surprising as, Amber, his nubile ex-girlfriend would only ever take her clothes off listening to One Direction.

”Things squelch when you make love over 60 so I want something to drown it out,” he said.

“Hmm, “ I said, “in that case you don’t want anything with too quick a tempo, unless you’re planning a premature ending.”

He stopped nibbling.

”Listen kiddo, at my age I need something that takes a while to build up to the big crescendo, but, doesn’t turn into a full-on marathon.” He sipped his coffee, “I’m not the man I used to be.”

Beethoven’s 5th was obviously out then.

“So nothing too shmaltzy or anything that could turn into a singalong,” I asked.

”The last thing I want is to hear her breaking into song and throwing me off my concentration.” He unconsciously nibbled faster.

”Well Guido and I have our favourite tracks, but obviously depends if we’re using mayonnaise or melted chocolate at the time.” I dunked my donut. “Listen, I’ll email you a suggestion,”

Later that night I called my mother.

“I can’t talk long darling,” she said all breathy, “I’m seeing a man friend later.”

”Who is he?” I asked.

“Let’s just call him special,” she said.

It was 2 a.m. when I woke up in bed. My eyes were wide open and it wasn’t because Guido was snoring like a fog horn. The penny had finally dropped. After forty years of happy divorce my parents were making love to each other again.

Anyway, here’s the track I picked. If you do try listening to this whilst making love, don’t blame me if you start thinking about two sixty five year fruit cakes having weird sex with a scatter cushion.

Though I really wouldn’t blame you if you did.

In your dreams

I’d like to share an exciting discovery I made recently. Depending on what you like to dream about, this could be a complete game changer in the nocturnal activity stakes.

I can confidently confirm that (and I accept this may initially seem unbelievable to some readers) corn fritters dipped in a chilli sauce will make you dream about Armie Hammer.

I am proof of his pudding.

Last Friday I just happened to randomly eat one and then right after I climbed into bed and fell asleep. When I shut my eyes it was like falling down a rabbit hole. I had one of the most amazing dreams I’d ever had in my entire life, and best of all it involved Armie Hammer with very few clothes on. It’s now happened twice in one week. Both times, corn fritters, chilli dip, strip all my clothes off, climb into bed and then, BAM! A nanosecond later and what d’you know? Armie comes a knock’n. Don’t tell me that’s a freaky coincidence.

I’ve still got to unlock the scientific link between the humble deep fried fritter and the guy who gloriously portrayed a bow legged Lone Ranger, but, let me reassure you – I’m working overtime on it. Corn fritters? I’m all over them.

All I can tell you is Armie’s a hell of a lot more persistent in my dreams than George Clooney ever was. In fact, if you’re reading this George – we’re through. You really can blow hot and cold. Sometimes I don’t see you in my dreams for weeks on end and then right out of the blue you’ll just pop up nonchalantly from under the blanket and expect me to pick up where we left off. Well listen up kiddo, there’s a new hunk on the block.

Honestly, Armie’s got great big hands that can get all over you. Given half a chance he’d knead you like a piece of pliable wet bread dough. In the middle of the night he’s got the ability to get me into positions I didn’t think possible. And here’s the best bit – he’s insatiable. Armie knows no exhaustion. He just keeps going on and on like a love machine so for two consecutive nights this week he just couldn’t seem to get enough of me. If pushed I’d say the feeling was mutual.

“You drive me totally insane,” said Armie, pulling back the sheets and tucking my heels neatly behind my neck. He told me just last night my chilli dip totally hit his spot. He’s making Guido sound like a right lazy bones in the sack – and that’s saying something. Especially if it’s a slow Tuesday in the kitchen and mayonnaise is on bulk buy at the market – if your catching my drift…

“Last night in the middle of the night when you shouted out – Give it to me Kemo Sabe – what exactly did you mean?” said Guido buttering my toast at breakfast time.

It was a tough one to try to explain away but just like Tonto I think I successfully covered my tracks.

”Maybe you should lay off those corn fritters just before bedtime,” said Guido, “I think they might be twisting your mind.”

So there’s a little bedtime homework for you folks on the fritter front. Get frying tonight. Oh, and please don’t forget, tell Armie I said Hello.

Looking, not touching

Guido and I spent Christmas at the farmhouse in Majorca. It was such a tonic to escape from the cold winter skies over London. It felt a little like Summer again. Guido would swim at the beach every morning and I’d wait for him at the Gran Café 1919. You can see the sea from there. And, as it turned out, it wasn’t the only thing to look at. The great thing about a warmer climate is, everybody takes more of their clothes off. You can probably guess where I’m going with this one.

Last Saturday morning I was quietly dipping an almond cookie into a cinnamon milk at the seafront. That’s when I clapped my eyes on an unexpectedly terrific set of biceps. They were sitting right next to me. They were bulging out from under the stitching of a white ribbed vest. It was one of those richly seminal moments in life which makes you put your glasses on. If I’d gotten out a measuring tape I reckon those beauties could’ve come close to the circumference of a generously proportioned Californian melon. It took all my self control not to reach out and check for ripeness. The best part of it all was they happened to be attached to a hairy arm with a barbed wire tattoo which belonged to a guy called Caleb. He had a dazzling smile. I didn’t know straight away Caleb was called Caleb. I only found that detail out when I struck up an utterly spontaneous conversation with him about his pancakes. That’s when I told him about the many varied and alternative uses possible for maple syrup. It certainly seemed to prick up his interest.

You’re probably thinking the premise of this whole post is based on my ongoing shallow objectification of men and their lithe torsos. And you’d be absolutely right. Some of you may think that’s wrong. Though I’m guessing your view could be skewed depending on what you do with maple syrup. Well, over the course of the following week I saw some terrific bodies. There’s too many to mention but here’s a stand-out few.

Carlos with the sizzling abdomen. Nils, from Sweden with by far the best washboard sexpack (his pronunciation not mine) this side of Stockholm. Mitch, who explained at great length to me about his overly developed pectoralis major. But, as it’s turned out, he’s never been able to achieve the same size with his pectoralis minor. Which has to be depressing for anyone. And finally; Miguel. The captain of a small local fishing boat. Here’s what I have to tell you about him. He had perfect buttocks. Outside the marina he showed me he had one leg marginally longer than the other. This could possibly explain why he walked like a penguin. Though it just goes to show if you’ve got a great ass nobody’s going to care much if you’re short of a few inches someplace else. There certainly appeared to be no anatomical reason for this to affect anything he did which involved a fish. Just in case you’re wondering.

But, I’m married. I only ever look at guys, never ever touch them. Thankfully I’m blessed with a husband I want to look at and touch. I just don’t think I’ve ever compared any of his muscles to a cantaloupe before.

Bad habits

Bad habits. I definitely know there are some of us who have more of them than others.

People (like me) have itsy bitsy tiny ones you’d barely even notice. They’re like a speck of moon dust up in the outer atmosphere of life. Then there’s other people (like Guido) who have great big ones the size of a space station orbiting earth. No matter how hard you try to ignore them they stubbornly refuse to burn up during re-entry.

There’s a hook on the back on our bathroom door and a steel ladder radiator for wet towels to dry out but Guido never hangs anything there. It must be one of the great mysteries of his life that after a soggy bath they miraculously pick themselves up and are back to hand the following morning to pat his face dry.

Need I mention underwear? Usually this blog will go into great, and I’ll admit gratuitous, description about how my husband and I peel our knickers off one another and then open a bottle of maple syrup just for the hell of it. But I can’t recall telling any of you how our boxer shorts eventually reach the Ali Baba laundry basket. Let me solve that one for you.

I put them in there.

It’s the same as when I replace the empty toilet roll holder, and close the dishwasher door.

Last night Ted and Gary and their super intelligent Jack Russell dog, called Brian, came over. Naturally I raised this in conversation with them.

“As far as I’m concerned the only person in our household with any bad habits,” said Gary, “is Brian.”

I looked at Brian and he looked at me. I could see this obviously came as a big surprise to him.

“He likes to chew a bone in our bed at the most inopportune of moments,” sniffed Ted.

Brian shook his head in complete disagreement but nobody seemed to notice. The whistle had been blown, as they say.

Later on our sofa (after I’d picked up the soggy towels, refilled the toilet holder and shut the dishwasher door) Guido and I sat on the sofa watching the sports channel. As usual, the remote control was strategically held between his legs in a vice like grip. I defy anyone to wrestle it free without the use of deep hypnosis or metal plyers.

“Can you believe Ted and Gary have no bad habits?” I said, “I mean, really!”

“None they were willing to tell you,” said Guido staring at the TV.

Poor Brian, I thought. I reckoned he was going to be far more careful where he chewed in future.

“At least you conceded I had none,” I said.

“Well, none I was willing to tell them,” said Guido. He had this annoying smirk on his face.

There was a long pause.

“I could have mentioned that you chatter on and on inanely for hours in bed after switching the lights out whilst I’m struggling to get some shut eye,” he said. “And you reveal intimate facts about our sex lives to persons unknown across the globe via your blog.”

There was another long pause.

I found myself thinking about the varied and diverse uses for maple syrup. Then I made a mental note.

I really must keep my mouth shut in bed.