September 9, 2015 by Michael Madden

I Can’t Be Arsed!

Lets start with Zac. He always gets a bit lippy when his mates come around, and on this occasion not only was his mate around, his mate’s mum was around as she had come to pick up her son. Mum was, as usual, questioning the lack of tidiness of her youngest, with statements such as “why didn’t you do this?” and “why haven’t you put that away?” Zac considered his stance, occasionally looked up from his iPad, and eventually responded with, “I can’t be arsed”. Mum was understandably taken aback. Not necessarily because the response was totally unexpected, but because he had said it in front of his mate’s mum. “I beg your pardon Zachary!” was her reply in mock astonishment, and using his Sunday name for effect. Then to his friend’s mum she claimed, ”I don’t know where he gets it from.” “I can’t be assed,” he corrected himself, which still wouldn’t do. This could have gone on for some time, but a rather harsh two day ‘grounding’ was imposed and that was the end of it. But who was really at fault? Zac for getting lippy, as he usually does, or mum for faking surprise at behavior that she has previously deemed acceptable by default. I will let you make your own minds up.
Anyway, last weekend we had a rather pleasant trip to London. We got in a taxi from home to Macclesfield station, driven by the excellent Dale Shirt whose number we got from Hell Dog. For the next 25 minutes Sally pressed the unsuspecting Dale on his roots, his friends, his experiences driving a taxi and before that when he worked in a factory, as well as what he thought of her own friends, whether he had picked up her brother, how he was getting on with his new baby (yes, she found out all about his family life too), and whether he had any school contracts. I switched off before the Pott Shrigley turn, and there was, no doubt, a whole lot more that he had to endure, but eventually we reached our destination. We strolled up the steps to the footbridge, at which point Sally casually remarked, “He was chatty wasn’t he?” I was genuinely shocked. The poor lad could hardly get a word in edgeways. No sooner had he begun to offer an answer to a random question, than another equally random question was thrown his way. To describe him as ‘Chatty’ is like dropping a rabbit off a hundred foot bridge and calling it ‘bouncy’.
Anyway, we continued on our merry way to London and met up with American friends Greg and Kirsten at the Savoy. It is as grand as you would expect in the American Bar, where we had several drinks before heading to the shops. Selfridges, to be specific, where Greg and I hit another bar whilst Sally and Kirsten bought perfume, soaps, and other stuff that they didn’t really need, generally to show off the brand names in the form of carrier bags. Sally may have met her match in the shopping stakes as Kirsten seems to see it as her number one priority, whilst Greg has not quite got to grips with the British style of drinking, and in particular the categorisation of Fosters as a ‘Breakfast Beer’. As afternoon turned towards evening we went to Pollen Street Social; a Michelin starred restaurant owned by Jason Atherton. No, I’d never heard of him either. We had the ‘Tasting Menu’ which consists of 8 courses of tiny portions, each accompanied by a different bottle of wine. By the end of it the dishes all rolled into one, but one that I will never forget is pea ice cream. I am sure Mr Atherton is a wonderful chef, but pea ice cream? It was billed as ‘chilled broth of garden peas and Scottish langoustine’. Perhaps it was a little too chilled, but the garden pea part was definitely ice cream. And the langoustine? Well, it was so small as to render its nationality an irrelevance. As I have said elsewhere, it seemed like a bad idea from an early round of Masterchef. I have to say that the whole experience was fun, if only to listen to the sommelier describe the origins of every bottle of wine as if his life depended on it, but for someone who prefers to consider the differences between Becks Vier and Estrella it was perhaps a little wasted. It was casual fine dining, which made for a very pleasant ambience, and if you are feeling extravagant I would definitely recommend giving it a whirl.
We got home to find Zac in one room and his teenage babysitter in the other. “Has he been ok? Has he even spoken to you?” we asked the rather embarrassed looking girl. “Not much,” she replied, but she didn’t seem to mind. “Haven’t you spoken to her at all?” we asked Zac. “I gave her the wifi code,” was his succinct reply.
Its been an interesting time for the boys, with Ole starting College a week before Zac started High School. The College gig seems to have gone seamlessly, although the prospect of a £1300 trip to India appears to have materialised. Sally thinks it would be wonderful for him, as he is naturally a caring kind of a boy. “He will love all those African schoolchildren,” she said. I kid you not. High School is a lot cheaper, with the extent of Zac’s spending being 80p on a one way bus trip. It would have been double, but he snuck on coming home. It would have been nothing at all, but he got caught trying to sneak on in the morning, and that’s just his first day.
I saw yet another consultant on Monday, and he was a very nice chap who specialises in knees, which is fortunate. Anyway, he said an osteotomy was a possibility, as was an unloader brace, but before all of this he did several x-rays and then gave his considered opinion that an arthroscopy would be a good next step. Not only would that give him the opportunity to trim my torn meniscus, it would also give him a good idea of the extent of the damage and whether an osteotomy is feasible. So, 25th September I will be going under the knife. It’s keyhole, using a camera and a scalpel. If I get the chance I will post the video here. It will be like Fantastic Voyage without Raquel Welch’s boobs.
Zac was informed that Wednesday would be the day that the queen becomes a record breaker as she will have reigned longer than any other British monarch. “Imagine if she died on Tuesday,” was his unique response.
Finally, its been a busy week in the kitchen cooking. I made an upside down sponge, and followed that with Rocky Road, Flapjacks (but don’t tell Helen), and chocolate digestives, all because Sally is leaving work and wants to take some treats in. I also saw a programme on how Heston Blumenthal makes burgers.  His methods are quite ridiculous, and it would him take several days just to make a humble burger. His recipe seems good enough, in terms of the mix of meats, the grinding process and the toasting of the bun, but then he put French’s mustard on it! WTF? But, he admitted, its all down to personal taste. So, I am going to give it my own twist. I could follow his recipe to the letter, but, as Zac would say, “I can’t be arsed”.