Lightbulb moment

The expression ‘lightbulb moment’ and the usual accompanying picture of a friendly bulb and a sometimes a ‘question mark’ is generally used to describe a moment of revelation.Perhaps such as the moment when that nice Mr Dyson invented that airblade hot air dryer that really worked, didn’t give us 3rd degree burns requiring hospitalisation and didn’t consume the electricity normally required for a entire street of houses or destroy another hectare of forest for paper towels, just for drying one’s hands.

My lightbulb moments more recently have been, well quite simply put, when buying light bulbs. Buying light bulbs used to be a really simple process….you went to your local hardware store and said ‘please can I have a lightbulb.’ …..their response was yes …40w, 60w or 100w ? If you were some trendy arty type with a light fitting bought holidaying in Paris you might proudly request ‘my latest addition is a lamp I just found in an antique shop on the rive-gauche, so it has to be screw fitting , not bayonet. Its continental you know!’There it is, simple process. But not now…you now need to know a bulb shape number..so you confidently ask for an e27.

Like a verbal tennis match your volley will get sent back over the net to you with questions …LED? or Halogen?No matter how swift your answer…more questions fired back to you….what brightness…1800 lumens or 2000 lumens? …answer this question and immediately a demand of what tone…warm white? or cool? …and so on until you give up or just produce the old bulb from your pocket and say , another of these please .But it’s not just light bulb buying that requires a post graduate diploma or doctorate in the given subject. Until a few years ago when buying a coffee in a cafe ( we now of course give them a promoted title of coffee shop or bistro) the most complicated question you would get is ‘ do you want milk with that?’

Now it’s a different story. If you don’t know your latte, from americano, cappuccino, machiatto, espresso, flat white or macho it can be an anxious moment in the queue. Questions on size are also asked …now most of us understand big or small, but start using terms such as Grande, tall or medium and confusion reigns on the hierarchy of sizing. Milk…hot? or cold? sort of make sense, but there will be an expectation on you to state the fat content you want (skimmed, semi-skinned, full) and then of course do you want your milk from a cow, coconut, soy beans or almonds.And finally they want to know your name to write on the cup!

I just give mine as ‘confused’ ..seems to certainly clear me a space and get me a seat when my name is called out!

Guess what…I think next time I will just have a coke.

Yes, I know…diet or zero or regular? Cherry coke, twist of lemon coke or lime coke?And finally the statement ..sorry actually it’s not coke, it’s Pepsi…is that ok for you?

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Summer in the city ..so sex, coffee and rock ‘n roll are on hold

The UK has its fair share of coffee shops , some more esoteric than others and on day when there is drizzle, a chill wind and an outside temperature barely in double figures (and that can be a day in May) the city dweller is drawn to these places like moths around a lamp.

But come the summer we are transformed into ‘al fresco’ eaters and drinkers.

There are some unwritten rules of how to behave when the sun comes out in the uk:

1. Have a barbecue, even if you are vegetarian or just don’t like them…not having a barbecue is frowned on.

2. Complain that it’s too hot

3. Have all food and drink outside . Even if a. The establishment or licensing laws don’t allow it, b. Even if there is no space, c. even if inside is cooler and comfortable with available tables and chairs

It only takes a walk slightly off the main streets of the west end to see the smallest London courtyards can be transformed into something of almost meditterean charm.

For the city centre pubs its a case of just let the drinkers spill onto pavements but with barely a table or chair to accomdate them at some.

Some local bylaws have strict ‘where you can stand laws’ and you will see a white line chalked on the ground. The white line cannot be crossed as if so some major heinous crime would obviously be committed and a huge electronic force field woukd annihilate the offender. Ok I made up that last bit on the force field but the rest is true. You can even see it in this picture.

And finally, even a troupe of Morris Man may turn up..baffling the tourists and ignored by locals.

However our summers are sometimes short and always unpredictable. This is who we are and what we do in summer and I wouldn’t really want to change it.😎

Frothing for the planet

I am not the world’s biggest coffee drinker, in fact for me as a Brit, it really has to be tea and coffee is only for when outside UK territorial waters. For us Brits ‘foreign’ places either don’t have the right quality tea or fresh milk that has been anywhere near a cow this year. But of late and in tune with my European leanings, I would enjoy a mid morning Latte Machiatto or Campucino..depending on which I can pronounce that day at my coffee vendor of choice! So what about at home? Some years back I was given an electric frother which at best makes some noise, a few bubbles and consigns some more nickel cadmium batteries to an early end to useful life and a whole new life as pollutants. But Fathers Day presented a new alternative from Barista & Co. No batteries but lots of bubbles said my daughter…saviour of the planet. What can I say other than, even this was underpromising and overdelivering. For some reason it just works! A clever device finally to be embraced in our home. Must sign off now, time for coffee.

..where has it been hiding these past years?