garden centres and broken dreams

We are both massive Christmas fans here in the chubbycubs household, although me a bit more begrudgingly than Paul. We’ve spent the afternoon schlepping around Dobbies, our local mega garden centre, taking in the Christmas trees, tat and various sundries before visiting my gran. We always buy a real Christmas tree, hang the expense, partly because we’re too fat to get up the ladder into the loft to store an artificial one, and I like how the house smells all Christmassy for a month, as opposed to the usual oxo-scented farts and toe-sweat mist that hangs in the air.

Dobbies really is a fantastic place for a fat person – for one thing, there is a Lindt pic-and-mix counter where we can do our usual trick of buying my gran so many Lindt balls that she dishes them back out to us. I know we said we’d have a syn-free week but circumstances have been that we haven’t had a great amount of times to plan meals, but hopefully we’re on track for a stay-the-same or a weight loss tomorrow. On top of this, our butcher is there, and despite the fact we get a ridiculous amount of cheek and name-calling, he’s great – very flexible and puts up with my inane questions about the meat. As this is a Slimming World blog, let me link it to the diet – FIND a local butcher and work with him. Ours does 12 chicken breasts for £20. You can buy them cheaper in the supermarket but these are free-range, local chickens that aren’t pumped full of water – we only need one breast per meal so it works out cheaper than buying two watery old fillets from ASDA where the chicken has been sitting in a case with only its own piss to keep its feet warm. I’m not going to start tubthumping but make an enlightened choice.

ANYWAY, the true mecca of Dobbies is the giant Cotton Traders – where else would Paul and I buy our lorry-driver shirts and slacks from? I never thought we’d ever be one of those couples who spend their Sunday afternoon in a garden centre but here we are, and we’re not ashamed. There was a time when the only way you’d find either of us rifling through bushes and reeds was if we were out dogging, but no more! Aaah we never dogged. No-one is going to seagull my DS3 either, it’s too new for that sort of shenanigans. If you don’t know what seagulling is, think about the state of a black car when a flock of seagulls fly over it and work back from there. ANYWAY. The only downside to Dobbies, aside from the effect it has on my American Express card, is the tangerine woman who stands at the door trying to sell everything from solar panels to loft insulation. For months we’ve had to awkwardly turn her down (well no, Paul is polite about it, I just shake my head and point to my ears to make out I’m deaf) but now Paul’s found a new way to confuse her – she launched into her spiel only for him to say ‘I’m sorry, but we’re Jewish’. She looked so mortified that I almost went back and pointed out that a) we’re not Jewish and b) Jews can have double-glazing at reasonable rates too. Hopefully that’ll get her off our backs for a while.

We’ve spent the rest of the evening doing our christmas shopping like the organised bees that we are. I’m particularly proud of the present we’ve managed to get our nice neighbours. Although he spends about 90% of his spare time bellowing at me across the road about my tomatoes, they’re both perfect neighbours, so we wanted to get them something nice. A few months ago, we took a holiday on the Isle of Skye and they mentioned before we went that they visited there themselves fifty years ago – and took a picture which has been by their bed ever since. They found an old bridge, climbed underneath and took a picture of the mountains. But years have faded the picture and they’re not planning on going back. So, Paul and I spent a few happy hours trampling around under the bridges of Skye (with the only direction being – it was near a white pub) until we found the exact view I remembered in the photo. Despite my photography skills, I’ve managed to get a decent replica, and after balancing out the colours in Photoshop, we’ve had a panoramic print done and framed. Which frankly, if that good gesture doesn’t make up for all the years of sodomy and vice and get me into Heaven, then god knows what will. By the way:

I don’t normally watch X-Factor but this is exactly how I want to arrive at Christmas time, atop a gaudy throne with my arm-hams and road-map stretch marks on show.

I feel I should apologise for the lack of recipes cards lately – there’s a reason for it that will become clear next week, although there’s still been a couple! I’ve also been busy doing back-end stuff for the blog, like increasing its search-engine friendliness – no look I’m boring myself here. I promise to get back to normal soon! Although most of the nice comments Paul and I receive is that it’s the rambling and the nonsense that we type that seems to work the most, so maybe my waffling isn’t such a bad thing. Anyway shush it’s my blog!

You know, it’s funny – I sat down tonight thinking I didn’t really have anything to say, but I’ve actually sat and typed merrily away for twenty minutes like Angela Lansbury and look at all of this that has poured out! Funny the way the mind works. It’s like when I typed up my honeymoon anecdotes and ended up putting it all in a book, sometimes I just can’t stop. But I must now, because Homeland is calling.