Thursday, November 24, 2011

Away with the Fairy's

OK, before we start, I have a confession…  I’m a habitual Fairy sniffer.  I’m one of those people you have to lean over to get your washing up liquid because I’m stood there opening the lids and sniffing, desperately trying to decide what new ‘flavour’ to get before the Security Guards throw me out for disturbing behaviour. 
When I’m caught up in this endeavour the wife rolls her eyes, Storm hides her face in shame (yet again) and Kaede and Nate try to join in (well they did until the day that Nate got a nose full of apple and lime blossom Fairy and was sneezing green bubbles for a week.)  My argument is that I’m the one that always does the washing up, so what’s wrong with it smelling nice at the same time?
So when Fairy contacted me and asked if I would like to join them at a pop-up restaurant at the OXO Tower for lunch cooked by the two starred Michelin chef Michael Caines to launch their Platinum range, there was only going to be one possible answer, ohmygodyescountmeinthankingyouverykindly.  There was a catch however.
I had to wash up afterwards.
Bring it on, said I.
So last Saturday found myself, the good Wife, Storm and Kaede heading off to London, all dressed up to the nines.  I think Kaede was the most excited, she’s wanted to be a chef since she was four and she was a bundle of nervous energy at the thought of meeting a ‘real proper chef’. 

When we arrived, everything looked as swanky as you would expect and one look at the menu (based on Michaels childhood memories) and we knew we were in for a treat.
Shepherd’s pie with saddle crusted lamb with smoked aubergine puree and a rosemary and thyme jus.

OH MY GOD.  Sorry, I didn’t mean to shout but it was so delicious.  I am not a big lamb fan, but this tasted like no other lamb I had tried before and the Shepherd’s Pie went way beyond gorgeous.

After the mains it was time to pay the piper and wash up.  Fairy had set up a stand where two people could race to clean a pile of dishes, head to head, with the best times winning prizes.  I faced off against Storm and after some strict instructions from the Scottish Washing up Sergeant, we were off.  Storm, showing off all the skills of a layabout student, made a meal of it but still managed to come in with a respectable 26 seconds.  I, however, in a performance par excellence managed the unbeatable time of 16 seconds.  Unbeatable that was until Sandy Calico managed to beat me by a second, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Taking my defeat like a man, I wandered back to the table to hunt out a glass of red wine.  When I got there I saw that dessert had arrived.
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch sauce and caramel ice cream.  To say Kaede was impressed was an understatement.

After we had finished our desserts I settled back with a nice glass of red and released a very contented sigh.  I then realised that the table was a little bit too quiet and noticed that Kaede had disappeared.  I looked around the restaurant and quickly realised why she had disappeared so fast.  Michael Caines, having finished in the kitchen, had popped out to say hello and there was Kaede, bending his ear and grabbing his autograph.  He certainly was happy to give her his time and pose for a pic and has cemented her desire to be a chef.

He then started announcing the winners in the washing up challenge.  The Wife’s 26 seconds in the dishwasher challenge won her nothing, but my 16 seconds won me 6 months worth of Fairy Platinum, whoop whoop.
Since returning from the event I’ve been using Fairy Platinum and must admit that it really works well, even after a Sunday Roast.  But most importantly it smells pretty darned good.
Many thanks to Fairy, Michael Caines and Rosie Mann at Ketchum PLEON for the invite and an excellent day which will certainly stay in Kaede’s memory for a very long time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The following takes place on the day of the Californian Presidential Primary.  Events occur in real time.
Tomorrow morning’s the date set for the op, a cockovisionogram with claws.  I’m looking forward to that, not.  Damn it, bloody kids and their bloody Lego.  How can something so brightly coloured blend into the carpet so well and why do I always manage to tread on it?
No eating or drinking after midnight so I had best stock up now.  I try to decide which would be the most appropriate pre-op drink.  I settle for a bottle of Pinot Noir but keep the Jack Daniels in the emergency standby position.  Damn it, somebody has broken the last big wine glass.  I get ready to shout at someone then remember that someone was me.
I wash down a handful of peanuts with a large JD and Coke.  We’ve run out of ice but I care not a jot.
I attempt to sleep, restlessly tossing and turning whilst protectively cupping my nether regions.  Damn it, why won’t sleep come to me?
Some inconsiderate arsehole has left his car running outside the bedroom window, with Barry Manilow blaring from the car stereo.  Another middle aged lothario dropping off the Widow Twankey from across the street no doubt.
Wake up from a dream where the cast of Monty Python perform my op with chainsaws whilst singing the ‘Lumberjack’ song.  Damn it, I’m never going to be able to watch Monty Python again.
On the way to the hospital now, traffic is light which is good as for some reason I’m eager to get there now.  Damn it, stuck behind a learner.  Seriously, at this time of the morning?  Send them back to the side roads where they belong.
Arrive at the hospital and it’s a pay and display car park.  Don’t we pay enough in taxes to avoid having to pay to park?  “Bloody NHS” gets uttered for the first time today.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it won’t be the last.
I’ve been sitting in the holding pen on the ward for over an hour now.  Damn it, the bloke sitting opposite me is eating chocolate and drinking an ice cold bottle of water.  I could cheerfully kill him for his booty.
Have finally been moved to the ward, I’m the youngest there by about 30 years.  The bloke in the bed next to me has his wife sitting with him and she is one of those loud complaining types.  I swear she just complained about the view.
A nurse turns up to take my blood pressure and the like.  I always worry that I’m going to fail these tests, so I hold my breath.  I don’t know why I think this will make a difference but I do it every time anyway.  My blood pressure is high, but on the basis that a camera crew are about to go on an expedition down my urethra, it’s hardly a surprise.
Despite being promised I would be the first person seen at 7.30, I am now the only person left on the ward as my fellow victims have already been prepped and taken.  Damn it, I would normally find being asked to take of my pants and put on some stockings quite a kinky request, unfortunately the person asking me is a sixty year old Asian bloke.
Great, I now look like a trussed up turkey wearing a gown that Mary Quant would find too short.  There is no possible way of sitting comfortably without giving the Crown Jewells a public airing. 
They are finally wheeling me into the operating theatre.  I meet the surgeon, who is one of those over-confident laughing types with an entourage bigger than any rappers, except his consist of student doctors and nurses.  He runs through what’s going to happen and then opens my gown and laughs.  Damn it, just damn it.
The first thing I hear as I start to come round is Maria McKee singing ‘Show me Heaven’ and I start to panic.  Am I in heavens waiting room, although considering the music maybe I’ve landed downstairs?  I open my eyes and with a huge sense of relief, realise I’m still in the hospital.  I have not shuffled off this mortal coil, at least not yet.
I’m wheeled back to the ward and told I can’t leave the hospital until I have passed water, a phrase so quaint even my gran found it old-fashioned.  I start drinking pints of water like my life depends on it, or maybe just my sanity.
I finally feel the urge to pee and gingerly shuffle to the toilet.  I stand there and wait and wait, and wait a bit more.  Damn it, come on, get on with it.  The ol’ chap has obviously gone on strike in protest of the treatment meted out to it today.  A bright red liquid eventually dribbles out, probably not enough for hospital purposes but I don’t care.  I want out and I want it now.  I go back and tell the nurse I’ve just turned their toilet into the Niagara Falls from hell and can I please go home now.
Doctor eventually arrives and gives me the preliminary results.  The results, that in my urge to get out of here, I had forgotten to worry about.  They found nothing wrong, so fingers (and legs) crossed, all is well.  After some slight exaggeration on my part, he agrees to let me go home.  I ring Mum and ask her to come and pick me up.  Apparently having a metal rod shoved into you can affect your ability to drive, go figure.
Mum arrives suspiciously quickly and after a brief interrogation she admits that she had been sitting in the car park waiting for the call.  I let it pass and allow myself to be led out of the hospital like a sick little boy being picked up from the school nurse.  I manage to convince her that I will be fine left on my own and she reluctantly drops me home and leaves.  The mother in law has the kids, so I just lie on the couch and let the silence wash over me.
Everyone is home now and either fussing over me, or ignoring me and I’m not sure which one is pissing me off the most.  Talking of which, I still haven’t been to the toilet so I escape them all and take myself to the loo.  Damn it, I still can’t go but it really feels like I need to, especially as I’ve drunk 4 pints of water and one can of lager.  I push until my eyes nearly pop out, yet nothing happens.  I’m not panicking yet.  I am, however, doing a lot of lying to myself to stave off that panic.
OK, now I’m panicking.
I am now seriously considering poking a hole in my belly button just to relieve the pressure.  I wonder how long it would take to cry out all the excess fluid in my body, but decide to try to pee whilst jumping up and down instead.  I realise it will make a hell of a mess if it works but am past caring right now.  Catch a sight of myself in the mirror doing a crazy piss pogo and begin to think that maybe I didn’t actually come round from the anaesthetic.  Maybe this is my version of hell?
I have now been in the bathroom for half an hour now and I’ve run out of ideas.  I’ve tried standing, sitting, pogoing, shaking my bladder, pressing my bladder, standing on my head (nope, I don’t know where that one came from either), doing the twist and staring and willing it out – nada, nowt, nothing.  Have also realised that despite being in here for over half an hour, nobody has sent a search party looking for me.  I guess that’s my fault for hiding in here so often, damn it.
Oh My God, the pain, the release.  I have somehow just passed a blood clot the size of a golf ball, I would be freaking out if I wasn’t so relieved.  The ‘Me Man, me make fire’ part of me takes over and I seriously consider taking a picture of it to boast about - and as I flush the toilet I instantly regret that I didn’t.
Normal service has been resumed, in fact I can’t stop going.  That may have something to do with all the beer I consumed to celebrate the end of a long day.  Feeling tired, time for an early night methinks.
Damn it, I’m going to be up peeing all night.