Monday, June 16, 2008


I had one of those weird minor cultural divide moments the other day. A neighbour's child was round at our house to play, she's a classmate of Holly's and the only Polish girl in the school. I don't know how long her family have been in the UK but her English is good (a bit odd at times) and far better than her parents'. The girls all played for a while, and as it was getting near tea time I cooked and invited her to stay to eat with us. No problem. I made a big stir-fry with noodles and everyone had great fun eating with chopsticks and making a mess. After most of the food had eventually disappeared into them and I realised they were still hungry I thought I'd better produce some pudding.

Me: What do you fancy, girls?

Holly: Yoghurts!

Me: We haven't got any yoghurts - sorry. You had the last ones for lunch.

Daisy: Cake!

Me: I'm not making cake from scratch now... (Inspiration!) How about bananas and custard?

Holly and Daisy: Yummy! Bananas and Custard! Bananas and Custard! We want Bananas and Custard!

I turned to our guest:

Me:Do you like Bananas and Custard?


Her: What's Bananas and Custard?

Me: Erm. It's bananas... with custard on top?

Holly: (helpfully) Sliced bananas!

Me: Yes, sliced bananas... with... custard... on top.


Her: What's 'custard'?

When I'm bored and in the middle of whatever tedious housework needs done, I play games. The current favourite is:

What The Hell Are They Talking About?

This a game played when listening to Radio 4 and works best when you've joined a programme a few minutes in. The object is to guess what the people in the studio are talking about before one of the hosts of the programme helpfully says: "If you've just joined us, you are listening to The Blah Blah Show with me: Blah Blah, and my guests Blah, Blah, and Blah - today we are discussing Blah-blah-blah."

The best programme to do this with is In Our Time, in which Lord Bragg and various worthies from academia discuss such things as: "The Court of Rudolf II - the lost powerhouse of Renaissance ideas", "Trofim Lysenko - Joseph Stalin's chief geneticist", or "Abelard and Heloise - love, sex and theology in 12th century Paris".

Even after they've told me what they're talking about I still haven't got a clue half the time.

A variation I have played for years involves missing the first couple of minutes of Desert Island Discs and trying to work out who the guest is.

And there's the perennial favourite of counting the characters in the Archers (it's always seven per episode) and trying to guess who the last one is going to be before they appear.

Other games are played with other radio stations:
  • Radio 2: How Long Can I Actually Stand to Listen It? (ie before they play Gerry Rafferty's hideous Baker Street again - usually about 20 minutes.)
  • Radio 3: How Long can the announcers go without mentioning Benjamin Britten or the Aldeburgh Festival? (Answer: Not long.)
  • Radio Nevis: How long is it before one of their idiot announcers stumble over a common two syllable word.
  • WMFU ( How long can I listen before I hear something I have heard before. (This one can go on for days).

Sorry for the long hiatus / gap / pause, whatever you want to call it but, to tell you the truth, I haven't felt much like Blogging recently because I seem to have:
A. Mislaid my sense of humour somewhere (small reward if found).
B. Done my back in.
Neither one of which on its own would preclude me from sitting and typing whatever drivel comes into my head like I normally do, but the combination has somehow stopped me from doing much at all over the last couple of weeks.

Sorry about that.


Phoebe said...

It's nice to see you again.

Anonymous said...

Yes, don't be a stranger.

I played the Desert Island Discs game last week without realising I was doing it. It was Lord Woolf.

Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from

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