Monday, May 18, 2009


“Wow!” gasped George, “Come and look at this!”

“Oo, what is it?” said I, rushing to share his amazement … “Are you still watching that dolphin programme?”

“No!” he breathed, “Mega-Marquee!”

For George had accidentally landed upon a Shopping Channel, and was now unable to switch off.

Have you ever seen one, or perhaps dipped into a website? Do Not, if you are susceptible to persuasion because instantly, everything there becomes indispensable. For instance, if George and I didn’t buy their Mega-Marquee (assembled in 60 seconds!), how would we survive the unreliable summer with our picnic guests constantly and soddenly rushing in for shelter?

And, what better way of putting up these guestly hordes, than on a Handy-Bed? - the size of a (quite big) suitcase, this steel-framed bed inflates and deflates itself at the press of a button! (Quite terrifying to watch…)

I can’t help agreeing that this would indeed be Handy and Yes, our foot-pumpable airbed is but an exhausting and pitiful imitation. Plus, there are special offers to augment one’s shopping pleasure – why not combine a Double Handy-Bed with a half-price Perfect Painter Spray? Guests will then have something to sleep on in a newly-decorated spare room! (or landing, in our case).

The brilliant ideas were countless… On the subject of visiting friends, are any of yours troubled by thinning or receding hair? What could be more thoughtful than presenting them with a tin of Restore-It-Quick? They’ll be delighted at this instant and revolutionary fibrous solution (“don’t forget to select a colour!!”).

Or if the problem is too much hair, DO try Scrape-it-Away! Removes unwanted growth from all over the place while exfoliating, massaging and vibrating at the same time! So much more fun than blunted razors or molten wax…

What else took our fancy… Well, while George went off to get wine and nibbles, I discovered the FantastiBag; Constructed on Tardis principles, this outwardly compact shoulder bag can store the contents of a Small Hotel in an instantly retrievable manner and (miraculously) without permanent damage to your shoulder or unguarded passers-by.

And something I jolly wish I’d had today for a torn hem – GlueItUp! This magical tin can repair all your clothes, even (puzzlingly) in “the places hard to reach with needle and thread”. Why not, they suggest, collect scraps of your old clothes and GlueItUp them together for a dazzling new wardrobe! There’s even a handbag size for those embarrassing emergencies! (Hah! If you’d bought an AmaziBag, you wouldn’t be troubled by piffling concerns of size).

We did eventually manage to switch off – rather like someone pulling the plug when you’re being electrocuted – and we collapsed into a dazed heap, heads crammed with ideas that will Change Our Lives.

Did we actually buy anything? No, in fact. But we know where this Shopping Channel lives…

(All these items are (more or less) real; only the Names have been changed…)


Canary said...

This is interesting. Men aren’t supposed to enjoy window-shopping. Yet here we have George in apparent ecstasy. Why? Is there a clue in your description of George’s gasping and breathing, and his happenchance stumble upon the TV shopping channel? Had George been drinking?

You can argue that Mega-Marquees, Handy-Beds, and Perfect Painter Sprays are of great appeal to blokes. And if George is either exceedingly bald or excessively hirsute, he may even have an interest in products like Restore-It-Quick or Scrape-it-Away. But I noticed that George nipped off in search of (more?) wine and nibbles. You didn’t say if he returned.

I think it was the booze wot dunnit. Cheer the poor chap up by asking him which club has just won the Premiership, and then cheer him up even more by asking which English club will appear in the European Champions Cup Final.

Go on - It'll make George so happy!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hi Canary! "Cheer the poor chap up" by asking who won the Premiership?

I think not - George was desperately watching ShopaLot to take his mind off LIVERPOOL-his-Beloved missing it again!

And to bloody MAN U!!

(Aren't you even a teeny bit tempted by a tin of GluItUp? As you wend your Knightly way through hill & dale, just think of all the distress you could save those Unprepared...)

Expat said...

Oh, Dolores. I am so sorry that George's team lost out...again. No wonder he's hitting the bottle. Well, I must admit, I had a bevvy or two to celebrate my team WINNING!

Now, on to happier things. Wouldn't you know we have a whole NETWORK of shopping channels here in the US. I do not watch them. Really I do not. But we also have adverts on the regular channels for handy gadgets and my other half is the susceptible one.

"The complete Beatles collection plus never before heard songs at the bargain price of $99.99. Wow. That would make a great gift for someone."

Like him, I presume...

"Hey, Chris, look! You can chop onions and nuts and everything with this! You could use one of those!"

Chop nuts, huh? well, that could come in handy if he buys that Beatles collection...

But I do like the sound of the mega marquee, though. And if I ever come across a whatsit guaranteed to magically suck up every single dog hair with absolutely no effort, I WANT IT!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Thank You, Expat - I have passed on your Sincere Condolences...

Yes! The Perfect Pet Hair SuckItUp! I bet this is only one of myriad inventions ricocheting round your head - why not set up 'Gadget For YOU!' channel?

What d'you think of this one? A cat-sized Tiny Door to let the little sods in & out without bothering George and I!!!


Canary said...

Well, if I’m not Fretting about one thing, I find myself being a Worry-Guts about something else. This time I looked up “Nut-Choppers” on the internet and discovered the Magimix Le Micro Mini Chopper. I was quite pleased with this, because I thought Dolores would love it.

Then I did some research into “Nuts”, and discovered that the Ancient Romans liked nuts, which they called “Nux”. A bit more research led me on to the Nux Vomica Tree which grows in places like Sri Lanka, India, South Asia and Northern Australia.

The Nux Vomica Tree has roughly SPHERICAL FRUITS, containing SEEDS. It occurred to me that these were precisely what Expat had in mind in her comment about Nut-Choppers.

But then I grew puzzled because I learned that in the case of the Nux Vomica it is the very hard SEEDS inside the spherical fruits that are referred to as NUTS, and it is the SEEDS (not the spherical fruits) that are covered in silky hairs. How odd. How very confusing. I felt I was being turned inside out by this information.

Then, horror upon horror, I discovered the seeds are also known as STRYCHNINE NUTS, and that “Vomica” is Latin for “Vomit”. So the Nux Vomica Tree is an Ancient Roman name for the Nut Vomit Tree.

This is driving me nuts. If you use a Nut-Chopper on the wrong kind of nuts, you get strychnine! Just think what might happen if the device falls into the hands of a Complete Nutter!

Why is research such a worry?

PS. Dolores, why does the comments count at the end of your blog show zero comments?

Canary said...

Whoops! The comments count is now correct! Maybe I am going nutty?

Expat said...

No you're not going nutty, Canary. Crackers, maybe.

But with respect to the comment count. it changes from minute to minute, it seems. Happened on the previous blog also.

I'll get back to you on the rest of your most interesting post.

By the way, my "word recognition" word this time is Grimm. And weren't those stories scary to you as a child? Makes The Attack of the Mini Nut Choppers seem tame by comparison.

Canary said...

Hi Expat - how I loved the Brothers Grimm and other fairy stories as a child! No, I wasn't frightened - I was enthralled! And they helped me to learn the English language!

PS. Yes, my vices may be crackers, but they do help me come out of my shell....

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hi Expat & Canary!

I'm not sure I'd be Thrilled at the prospect of a Micro-Mini chopper thank you, CI,(9.41pm, 19th), but your nut research was Fascinating.

Expat, I didn't find the Brothers Grimm at All helpful, either, when trying to go to sleep. "Enthralled" by them, CI? No wonder you enjoy agonising tales of Nux Vomit.

Canary said...

I am a silly me, prattling on about Nux Vomica Trees (aren’t they fascinating?) when the topic is WINDOW SHOPPING. Please forgive me for the digression. I seem to get digressed all too easily now-days. Mind you, I think it was all Expat’s fault, because she started me off by talking about nut-choppers. Grrr!

Actually, the topic was ON-LINE window-shopping (“Windows”-shopping?). I’m not too keen on it. Nothing can beat real shopping – in the real world, I mean.

Shopping is one of my favourite pastimes. Wherever I travel, I am instantly drawn to the bright lights and buzz of shopping centres, the hustle and bustle of markets, and the excitement of auctions. The attraction for me is not only in the things that are on offer, but in the people – the store owners and managers, the sales people, the family groups and friends who are out and about together, the solitary browsers – everyone. There is so much fun in watching people in the shopping environment, interacting with them, and sharing some useful snippet of information (“It’s cheaper in the shop on the corner!”).

Yes, I have browsed on-line to compare prices and availability, and have even bought some stuff on the web (mainly books, airline tickets, insurance policies), but nothing can beat the real-world shopping experience of asking for a discount, having a haggle, getting two 10-euro notes in your change after handing over a 20-euro note, and arriving back home to study your supermarket bill to find that you were under-charged (how could the check-out possibly miss three bottles of Jack Daniels?). Even an overcharge is great fun if you shop at a store that offers you a cash-back of double the difference!

And where on the web can I replicate that moment of sheer pleasure and opportunity when I gallantly hold open a shop door for a pretty woman who is over-laden with shopping, and who gladly accepts my offer of further assistance?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Canary - how Wicked you are! Weren't the people on the check-out pretty enough to point out their errors to? I'm cursed with enormous honesty that makes me confess my gain, even if I notice later on and have to run back...

I agree about Proper shopping though with actual movement & people involved, although George likes it far more than I do.

And I'd probably never buy new garb if it weren't for his urgings, and his being prepared to stand outside the changing room for aeons then insist: Yes! BUY It!!

Canary said...

Dolores! What’s this? Wicked? Moi?

I’m always impeccably behaved in supermarkets. They often have some really pretty ladies sitting under a “Check Out” sign, so I do. What’s wrong with that? And is it my fault if a cash error occurs when flirting with a real knock-out beauty – and she is left slightly out for the count?

Seriously though, there is a darker side to this beloved island of mine. There are plenty of rogue traders here, attracted by easy pickings from gullible tourists and retired ex-pats. And the rogues are active everywhere – on the beaches and streets, in the offices and shops, bars and restaurants, night clubs – everywhere. It’s an Island of Thieves!

I live in the middle of it all – in a “Soho” area – and I love the cut and thrust of the goings-on around me. Sinners are much more interesting than Saints, aren’t they?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Well, Canary, I'd say they're generally Convinced of it! I tend to think that saints & sinners all have their enticing ways...

Canary said...

Well said Dolores! I'm packing up now (travelling back to England over the weekend) and there's much to do when I arrive. So I'll be a bit less chirpy for a while. Tweet!

In the meantime, thank you so much. Your blogs are brilliant fun.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Oh Canary, Missing You Alreadyyyy!!

Thank you greatly for all your jollity, and 'Be Careful out there among Them English'! (wise words from "Witness", as you may well know)

bye for now!

Expat said...

Aahh! Too late to say 'bye to CI! I should have been more attentive. Dolores, I will keep you company while he is in transit.

By the way, I was wandering through Jon's Vendee blog and visited his business website. Oh, my! Talk about 'I want one!" I want all of those houses!!

Jon, if you read this, the catering menu sounds delicious. I must confess, though, that I was intrigued by the chocolate 'moose.'

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hi Expat - I'm delighted you'll be here. I imagine you, though, a bit like a fella we met today who's not only a GP, but a police doctor and a judicial something-or-other, and works 90 hours a week.

With your various books-in-progress and business travels, how you fit in Commenting is my understanding! (So glad you do)!

Yes, Jon's Vendée blog is amazing isn't it, plunging down so many paths... Another multi-tasker who eschews sleep!

Expat said...

Oh, Lord. The word recognition this time is Bless! How appropriate, because I have just posted on Jon's Vendee blog.

It's been a busy week, lots of rain and how my garden does grow! My veggies are sprouting like weeds...only the weeds are sprouting faster. I need a Fantastic Guaranteed To Kill Any Weed At the Touch Of A Button Zapper. I give in. Home Shopping Channel, here I come!

Canary said...

Tweet! I’m back!

Yes, back in England, after seven heavenly months in the sunshine. Why am I back? Is it to go shopping to the big out-of-town supermarket to fill up an empty freezer, an empty fridge, an empty larder, a near-empty petrol tank, and to buy fine wines – all at twice the sunshine price? No! No! No! (Even though I did).

The real fun is a stroll down the bustling High Street of my quaint old English seaside town, to revisit the plethora of homely little shops, to renew old acquaintance with the shopkeepers, and to see the seagulls soar overhead.

Happiness is returning from my stroll and unpacking my spoils, to try on two M&S shirts for £5.50, three Wranglers jeans for £8.25, and to browse two dictionaries (Etymology of Proverbs and Origins of English Place Names) that I bought for £4.00.

Ye Olde Shops! Charity Shops! Old-Fashioned Local Markets! I LOVE them!

What's the fun in shopping for you, I wonder?

expat said...

I am so glad you are settled and chirpy . In answer to your question, there is no fun in shopping. It is a necessary evil. But bear in mind where I live.

Although I never liked it in the UK either...

Canary said...

Hey, Expat!
A little shop has one door, and a big shop has many. And once inside, then afterwards, you find that every door is an exit.

And isn’t every Exit an Entry somewhere else? Isn't that the fun of life?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Expat & Canary. 48 hours without PC-ing - how disturbingly weird it feels!

We spent yesterday at a festival for devotees of Cajun music (George plays accordeon of that ilk). What a warm, welcoming and joyous gathering it was, with much playing, dancing & consuming of delicacies.

Today went to a barbecue - very similar without cajun. Perfect sunshine - feeling hugely content.

Expat - good luck with the tricky tasks in England (mentioned on Jon's blog) - hope you have a lot of joyous times too.

Just noticed my comment 23 May should have said 'how you fit Commenting in is BEYOND my understanding'. In spite of that, I think you should patent immediately your pushbutton Weed Zapper (29.5).

Canary - what delightful & deeply philosophical shopping

We've just learned of an establishment in the next town called 'La Fripe', or Second-hand Clothes. The owners buy stuff at auction, then many minions toil to sort it into mountains of shirts, trousers, dresses etc. Then customers go in, poke through the mountains, and purchase - By Weight!

You can pop in for a kilo of shirts, for example, or half a pound of socks...

Now I think that sounds enormous fun. If hazardous at peak times...

Canary said...

Does "La Fripe" sell rainwear by the fluid ounce?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Brilliant, Canary! Shall suggest it immediately

Canary said...

How heavy is a sock I wonder?
I’ll put one on the scales.
The needle doesn’t move a bit
And I worry why that fails.

So I weigh myself in just one sock
And then with both socks on.
The needle doesn’t show a change
It’s a worry, something’s wrong.

So I weigh myself in all my socks
And yes, I now weigh more.
The needle’s gone right off the scale
Which it wasn’t just before.

There’s only one thing left to do
With socks weighed down with lint.
I’ll sell the socks by the pound
And I’m sure to make a mint.

Expat not a poet said...

Buying by the pound is fine
when it's nice and sunny.
Clothes are light and airy and
I'd get more for my money.

But winter-weight's another thing.
All that wool and worsted
would soon delpete my meagre funds
and then I'd be, well, busted!

(sigh...I tried, but outdoing CI is a tough call).

Expat rotten typist said...

That expat is not a poet and she can't type either!...Deplete

Canary said...

Expat - I adore you!!!

Canary said...

And Woops!
I also made a mistake in my poem! The penultimate line should have 8 syllables and read as follows:

*I'll sell the socks by the half-pound".

It was half a pound of socks - wasn't it , Dolores?.


Dolores Doolittle said...

Yes, Canary, it certainly was. How Dazzling your poems are, Expat & Canary! (and what stunning images you evoke, Canary)

There once was an old sock called Herbert
Who fell head over heels with a turbot
How sad then, to find
Turbot also entwined
With a liberty bodice from Clacton

Look - I just can't do it, OK?

Diet Menu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pain Management said...
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Canary said...

1:30 PM
1:31 PM.
"Good blog"
and ":)."


expat said...

Careful. Legitimate websites but maybe compromised. I clicked on the commenter "name" (most unlike me) and within a minute received an "add-on to my favorites" alert. Coincidence?

expat said...

Yep. Did a sweep and turned up some low risk spy cookies.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hi Expat & Canary. Yeah - for a second when I saw those Unknowns I thought, Oo - interesting...

Then I thought, Bizarre names... Then I thought, All done by Robots.

It's like the ads one gets on emails isn't it - fiendish software scanning the universe & dropping appropriate??? publicity.

I clicked on both names because I'm curious - just Go on a diet and Ease your aches websites.

Not worth a look, and in fact I'll try and delete them now.

Canary said...


Are we being watched by the “Unknowns”? Why are they interested in achy diets? I’m glad you’ve deleted them! Can I unpanic myself now that Expat has swept up lots of unrisky cookies?

I’m feeling very brave and heroic for having spotted them first – even though I didn’t have the faintest idea what was going on.

Mind you - I still don’t!!!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hail Canary the Fearless!

Worrying isn't it, all this spying & telling us what's good for us...

I blame George Orwell. It'll be particularly worrying when They start unearthing our Phobias...

Canary said...

Hail Dolores - the Deadly Deleter!

Canary said...

Hail Expat! Wishing you well in your visit to England...

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hail Both!
And Expat, do have a splendid time in the land of Cumberland Sausage.

Pubs & Waterstones Bookshops are what I miss

Expat said...

Well, my friends, I am very sad. My mother (96 this year) in England, and the main reason for my trip, had a stroke today. It sounds bad. I am in a holding pattern for the next 24 to 48 hours until we know more about her medical condition and the prognosis and then I have big decisions to make. Keep us all in your thoughts.

Canary said...

You are very much in my thoughts, Expat, not least because it was my beloved mother’s last illness that prompted my return to England from Arkansas in the early 90’s. We held hands as she passed peacefully away. She was the most marvellous mother - my treasured memory. I wish the best for you and your family now.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Oh Expat, you and all your family are most certainly in my thoughts too.

It's agonising to be far away when anything like this happens - you must be feeling torn in all directions at the moment.

I hope, in fact I'm sure, you have strong beloveds close by to help you through this ghastly time.

I wish your mother the Best Possible Health, and George & I both wish you Courage & Stamina & Miraculously Good News with the next phone call...

Warmest wishes, Expat