Euphemistics: WARNING – content may offend

Do you ever look at your junk mail? I hardly ever do. Googlemail does an excellent job of chucking it directly into the spam folder and automatically deleting it after 30 days.

While having a little tidy-up this morning, I had a peep at the stuff awaiting deletion, and was quite entertained by the euphemistic phraseology used by the purveyors of sexual enhancement products.

Here are my three favourites today – and again, a warning, please do not read on if you think you might be offended, because if you think you may, then you probably will.

Vulcanize the whoopee stick more!    Whoooppeeeeeeeee!

Bring electricity back to your love circle.  Yikes! Sounds worse than waterboarding.

Energy to tear her ham wallet.    Pardon me? Her what?   😯


So our faithful wood merchant arrived, as promised, at the end of last week. Unusually, we did not hear him, as we, the cats, parrot and dogs were fighting for pole position over the paraffin heater in the living room. So our faithful wood merchant tipped his load into the drive and drove away. Had we heard him, the story might have had a different ending, but as I have already pointed out, we didn’t.

So we discovered the heap of wood splattered all over the drive some hours later. And we discovered, too, that the heap of splattered wood was sodden. Were we sufficiently strong so as to be able to wring out logs, water would have flowed from them in a copious manner. But we are not, and so the water remained within them.

So I phoned our faithful wood merchant to arrange for him to come and collect the payment for the wood, and when he did so, I mentioned that the wood was sodden. He gazed at it in astonishment. Together we prodded it, and stroked it, and he eventually realised that it was indeed sodden wood, and remembered that the wood had lain beneath a mantle of snow for 15 days, which explained it’s soddenness. I mentioned that we had bought the wood to provide heat by means of burning it, and that sodden wood is not renowned for its combustion properties. He looked puzzled, scratched his grey curls for several minutes, and then came up with a practical suggestion:

That we move the sodden wood from the driveway and stack it in the living room until it dries out. So that’s three cubic meters of saturated wood, stacked in the living room, oozing onto the floor and evaporating into the walls and furniture. So simple that I can’t imagine how we didn’t think of it ourselves. 😀

Cremation, and new friend

Well, that was certainly the most surreal experience I’ve had for quite a while. Popped into McDonald’s today for a fish sandwich as I was snatching a meal on the hoof.  It’s a bit soggy and mushy, but whatever branch of McDo’s you go to the food is consistent, so you know what you’re going to get, it’s served quickly, and the place is clean, including the loos.

Which brings me to the surreal part. The music. In the loo. Orchestral cremation music. Mournful, ominous, solemn, tragic, final. The kind of music they play in films as the coffin disappears behind the curtains and into the furnace. It felt really, really strange. In fact I was so unnerved I didn’t close the door in case it locked me in and turned on the flames. It’s the second time I’ve had a peculiar experience in that branch of McDo’s. Last time, I used the handicapped loo, and when I tried to open the door, instead of opening outwards it swung up and over like a garage door. I don’t think I’ll take advantage of their loos any more.

But I’ve just had a delightful email from Elena, addressed to “My Tender Bear”:

‘Hello – I like you did not say – do you remember when we made love three? Who you like more? “I am a Russian girl with blonde or America?” Waiting for an answer – if you like – continue.’

I think that’s so sweet. Nobody ever called me a tender bear before. Just not sure what kind of answer she expects, or whether or not to continue this relationship.  Any suggestions?

Chansons and sardines

Two pleasing discoveries over the weekend.

From Craig at This French Life, a great website for anybody who loves classic French music. is a 24-hour radio station featuring all the great  French singers of the last 100 years.

And now a recipe for sardines. We are virtually vegetarian, but very occasionally eat a little fish, and the littler the fish, and the less they look like fish, the better. Last night I broke open a tin of sardines and tried Mario Batali‘s recipe for Canned Sardine Fritters. They are very quick and simple to make, inexpensive, and delicious and look like onion bhajis. If you like sardines, you should love these:

Ingredients – to serve six

  • 2 cans good-quality oil-packed sardines, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped plus extra, for garnish
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped pepperonchini (I substituted a few dried hot red peppers)
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated caciocavallo cheese (I used halloumi)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to fill a deep pot no more than halfway (I used corn oil)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon halves


Drain the sardines and mix together with the remaining ingredients, except the oil and lemon halves, with a wooden spoon, stirring lightly, not to mash mixture.

Heat a couple of inches of oil in a pan and heat to 350 degrees F. Use two soup spoons to form the fish mixture into fritters and slide them into the oil. Fry each fritter to a golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes. Carefully remove the cooked fritters with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve very hot, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.