Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Big Issues

It’s not only comedians who need good timing - it's pretty useful to scrabbledians too. Sadly, mine goes awry too often, as it did the other evening when I was looking at an available Z on the scrabble board, but had only one O and nothing else of use. The next day we meet some friends and get chatting about scrabble and I learn about a zo - a sort of Tibetan yak. If only those two evenings had happened in reverse. Yes, I know I could buy a scrabble dictionary and learn all those useful two-letter words, but that’s hardly in the spirit of the game is it? Now there are those who think scrabble‘s only a game - as trivial as poker or monopoly, or even arm-wrestling - but it so isn’t - it‘s as serious as it gets. Anyway, these friends said “oh we must get together for a game”. I was enthusiastic until one of them mentioned that their games usually last about 45 minutes and while waiting for her turn, she reads her book! What? I like a bit of healthy competition, but I’m not up for a total hammering. Our games last an hour and a half and the in-between-turns bit is taken up with unconcealed jealousy when my loved one places, consecutively and to great advantage, his X, Z, and W (consecutive turns that is, not letters, or it would be Polish scrabble) and anger at the injustice of holding a Q, I, C, and K with no available U. The other day I was holding four Ns and three other letters each worth one when my loved one begged for sympathy at his rough luck. He had champio and all he needed to give him his bonus for a 7 letter word was an available N. He was disappointed with my level of sympathy and not a bit grateful for my offer of a swap. Funny how much more cheerful I was the next time we played and I got basque on a triple.

When the second lot of artichokes I’d bought caught only the briefest glimpse of my kitchen on their way to the bin, after festering in the fridge for two weeks, I decided it was time to admit I needed a little help on the motivation and inspiration fronts. So I went on a day‘s cookery course and it worked - well almost. Our tutor took us round the local market to buy what we needed for a great lunch, giving us a lot of useful tips, one of which - about the shape of the dots on aubergines' bottoms indicating whether they'll have seeds in or not - I passed on to a friend. She gave me one in return, which sounds just as unbelievable, so before I try it, I want to know if it's just an April fool's joke: when using only half an avocado, take out the stone, cover it with water and wherever you put the other half of the avocado, it won't discolour - well, I guess she doesn't mean wherever you put it. My new enthusiasm worked until last night that is, when I stayed too long on the computer and just didn't have the energy to do anything but rummage in the fridge, where I found a five-day-old packet of fresh ravioli and against all common sense, cooked it anyway. It's amazing how delicious bread and cheese tastes after that.

I'm often amused at the different reasons women give for dismissing someone as a potential partner. Two of my favourites are: I could never marry anyone who wasn’t a Catholic and from an American : I could never have sex with anyone who hadn’t been circumcised. My own, which makes no more sense, is: I could never be interested in anyone who couldn‘t spell. (fool that I am not to have realised that if I’d married someone who couldn’t spell, I could win every scrabble game) What we really mean is we haven’t been asked by a non-Catholic, uncircumcised or dyslexic and if and when we are, the only really important question we ask ourselves is: ‘do I fancy him?’

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