Saturday, 27 January 2018

Hopeless fumblings

For the benefit of Ursula, who maintains that I flag up all my strengths and gloss over all my weaknesses (she can't have been reading my blog posts very carefully), here's a list of some of the things I'm crap at:

1) Parallel parking
2) Cooking
3) Small talk
4) DIY
5) Remembering
6) Painting and decorating
7) Child minding
8) Sport
9) Yoga
10) Going to the gym
11) Car repairs
12) Meditation
13) Science
14) Love letters
15) Growing vegetables
16) Ice skating
17) Taking exams
18) Suffering fools gladly
19) Getting a good night's sleep
20) Card games

And I'm sure that's just a small sample of the 101 things I screw up or fumble with on a regular basis. Any impression you might have that I'm a perfect human being who sails effortlessly through life's daily challenges is wholly mistaken and should be scrapped right now. Agreed?


  1. Ok. You are useless. Perfectly useless.


  2. Nick,
    You are verging on petulant and you can do better than that!!

  3. Ursula: Useless beyond belief.

    Kylie: Petulant? "Childishly sulky or bad tempered". No, I don't think I'm either of those. Just trying to correct a misconception.

  4. John: You may be right there....

  5. I detest yoga. I'm surprised about the cooking. Most people become good at it by a certain age, just out of sheer necessity.

  6. I can relate to a few of those. ;)

    2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14 (never needed them), 15, 16 (never tried), 18 (I agree, this is a positive).

    Funny thing, even in my mid 60s, I find there are things I can improve on.

  7. Other than parallel parking, most of those are not much practical use.

  8. Bijoux: There are three dishes I'm good at, but I've never got round to extending my repertoire. Mainly because Jenny loves cooking so there's zero incentive for me to clean up my act!

    Mike: I've never tried 15 and 16 either, but I'm pretty sure I'd be hopeless.

  9. Shawn: Oh, I think most of them are very practical. Though I don't think my life is the poorer for not being good at card games or ice skating or sport. But a ready fund of small talk would be handy when conversation turns sticky.

  10. Suffering fools goes to the top of my list. I don't do it gladly, and they generally know it.

  11. Joanne: Sometimes I give fools the brush-off, other times I listen to them for the entertainment value. Some people have such bizarre views.

  12. I can relate to some of those, others definitely not.
    Some are useful skills to have like DIY and parallel parking, and being useless at them must make things difficult, but others are pretty trivial.
    I'm useless at ice skating, love letters and suffering fools too, but I don't see these things as failings - they simply don't bother me.

  13. Not suffering fools gladly is definitely not a negative.

    Of the other things, some don't seem like skills necessarily worth cultivating but others I can't imagine not being at least proficient at. Like cooking.

  14. Dave: Being terrible at DIY isn't really a problem. I just call a tradesman to do the job. It gives him a bit of work and he'll do the job in a fraction of the time I would take.

    I try to avoid the need for parallel parking by finding a space I can drive in and out of without a lot of fancy manoeuvring.

  15. Agent: I know you're a pretty excellent cook yourself, so it must seem odd that other people like me are so dumb. Especially when a lot of men are now proficient cooks and no longer see cooking as a "feminine" activity.

  16. Nick,
    Ursula says whatever she thinks and goes on her merry way but you have let it bend you out of shape in a public forum. Again.
    What you are doing is the adult version of a child pouting and saying "She said I'm silly"
    You can't control what Ursula says or thinks but you can control your response and I repeat: you are better than this

  17. Kylie, I think Nick has risen to the challenge in a rather amusing way.


  18. Kylie: I'm not bent out of shape. I thought it would be rather interesting to list all the things I'm lousy at. I'm not pouting either. I'm enjoying all the reactions.

    Ursula: Being amusing is one of my numerous strengths, ha ha.

  19. does anyone else see in the flames a Dali-type long face with the pencil mustache looking over at the woman?
    now I can't NOT see it.
    it's very odd.
    and good grief Nick!
    did you realize on your very own public forum blog that you have reacted in a totally wrong way?
    "you're pouting." I didn't realize that.
    or that you have been proclaimed by the other expert guest analyst in a self satisfactory tone that you have
    "risen to the challenge in a rather amusing way."

    what a load of doo doo.

    acerbic wit is much over rated these days.
    maybe it's because I'm just getting older and haven't the energy nor time for reading or hearing it. I grow tired of the "isn't she clever? isn't she witty everybody?"
    I think it might be the most insipid form of bullying really. but bullies must be bullies or they wouldn't smell as sweet.
    and as I have just written all that it dawns on me that I've not been talking about Ursula and Kylie really at all!
    somewhere in it they turned into my late mother-in-law whom I tried to understand and who was a primo bully of the first kind. I was a 19 year old "my angel" and not prepared for such treatment. and as a teenager reacting to a supposed adult I never knew quite how to respond. today I hope I would KNOW! back then I mostly just couldn't believe it.
    it still astounds me that I put up with her unkindness and public evaluation of me for almost 17 years.
    so pardon me ladies if I come to Nick's defense. he doesn't need a Pollyanna for that defense! nor probably any defense for that matter. he's among friends I'm sure. and it seems to be entertainment for you all.
    it must be a moon phase for me to even bring it up now.
    but the remnants are still there apparently in the feeling of discomfort that kind of repartee brings to me. interesting.
    as monk says... "we're all a bunch of nuts!"
    and she thinks it's funny. :D

  20. lol, ok, whatever floats your boat

  21. I suspect that those who sail through life's challenges are either mad or drunk.

  22. What do you call people who interpret everything you say as negative? You may not suffer them gladly, but you are extremely patient with them.

  23. Can you laugh at yourself Nick?


  24. It probably would have been more clear if I had written, "What do you call people who interpret everything you say in a negative way?" And they seem to believe everything they think, including how you feel.

  25. Tammy: Thanks for that fulsome defence, and the dismissal of the expert guest analysts! Well, I like a bit of grist to my mill, so a few barbed comments don't bother me for long. As you say, at the end of the day it's all just entertainment.

    Sorry to hear your MIL was such a monster. A bit like my father, I imagine - always wanting you to meet her expectations rather than being yourself. And nothing you did was ever quite good enough?

    And yes, I do see a Dali-type face!

  26. Helen: I think there's a lot of truth in that. Certainly the sort of person who doesn't think very much about life but just ploughs on regardless.

    Jean: Don't know, but there must be a word for it - a carper maybe? Yes, on the whole I have a lot of patience with people - unless they're total bores and idiots, in which case I flee rapidly.

  27. www: Oh yes, I laugh at myself constantly. Human behaviour, including my own, is so utterly bizarre at times.

    Jean: Indeed, they seem to believe everything they think, and are reluctant to accept the reality might be very different.

  28. Trigger warning: I object to Tammy's comment. I hope you, Nick, will allow me to make my point in response to Tammy's attempt at smearing me.

    So you understand, Tammy, I am talking on my behalf as I can't on Kylie's. Why you throw us both in the same pot is beyond me. Also, do remember that Nick and I have "known" each other for a long time - and, so I hope, have found our level of friendship and an understanding.

    Exhibit One of your reply to Nick's post:

    "... did you realize on your very own public forum blog that you have reacted in a totally wrong way?" IN A TOTALLY WRONG WAY? So you, Tammy, have the nerve to tell me that finding what he said amusing (which I did) "patronizing" to only then "patronize" Nick, as if he weren't a grown man able to make his own judgment, by telling him he "reacted in a totally wrong way"? If you can't see the irony then please do pull the duvet over your head.

    Exhibit Two: You say acerbic wit is overrated. Acerbic wit can never be overrated. You "grow tired of the "isn't she clever? isn't she witty everybody?" Don't take your tiredness out on the innocent who are still wide awake and alert.

    Exhibit Three: "I think it might be the most insipid form of bullying..." I think you mean "incipient". Unless you mean "insipid" in which case it would hardly be noticeable, ie noted, don't you think?

    " ... but bullies must be bullies or they wouldn't smell as sweet." I don't know about your sense of smell and never having encountered a bully I wouldn't know what they smell like.

    Exhibit Four: " ... and as I have just written all that, it dawns on me that I've not been talking about Ursula and Kylie really at all!" Promptly contradicted by

    Exhibit Five: "... so pardon me ladies if I come to Nick's defense. he doesn't need a Pollyanna for that defense! nor probably any defense for that matter. he's among friends I'm sure. and it seems to be entertainment for you all." Tidy up your good intentions, your prose and capital letters, Tammy, "moon phase" or not.

    As to Jean's repeated "we're all a bunch of nuts", please do remember that one nut doesn't fit all. There are wal, hazel, pistachio, pecan and many other nuts. In shape and flavour they couldn't differ more. Though, yes, most of them have a shell. Try and crack that first before you point fingers.

    Don't trespass where others don't dare, Tammy. Think before you speak. I held you in some esteem, emphasis on "held" (past tense). I do understand that we all have (unpleasant)triggers in our lives. Please don't take them out on the innocent.


  29. Nice to know that you are human Nick.

  30. Ursula: I like Tammy and I agree with everything she says. I can't be bothered to reply to your pedantic nonsense. I don't quite know why you're getting so worked up about a trivial blog post.

    Ramana: Indeed. Like everyone else, I often get things wrong, talk nonsense and make a twit of myself. I'm all too fallible.

  31. "Pedantic nonsense", is it, Nick? You "can't be bothered". You "agree with everything (!) she [Tammy] says". Who is the one "getting worked up about a ... blog post"?.

    I have never seen yours, or anyone else's, blog posts as "trivial". If they were why bother - a) to write/publish them, b) why bother to read them, c) why does the reader bother to give some thought to them and then reply?

    With that your attitude, Nick, I wish you good luck and bid you farewell. I most certainly will not, in future, give a toss or my time to that which its own author considers "trivial".


  32. Ursula: As you wish. Now who's being petulant and pouting?

  33. “Now who's being petulant and pouting?“ I love it! :D

    I enjoy your posts and admire your good nature and patience. Losing the carping comments will/would be a plus.

  34. What you are you, Tammy and Jean doing?

    You, Jean, love "now who's being petulant and pouting? I never said that.

    Don't you worry, any of you, you sure will be "losing the carping comments". As you will be losing many a thoughtful comment. Comments coming from the heart.

    I can't believe what is happening here. It's shameful.


  35. Don’t be so hard on yourself Nick, let us do it! I’m damn good at parallel parking (had to be in my previous home with on road parking) and painting and decorating. Pretty good at cooking, a good nights sleep and card games, ok at remembering some things and totally forget others.

  36. PS I love the image you chose for your post. I did set a pan on fire years ago, amazingly I calmly carried it outside, set it on the ground then stupidly poured water on it!! The flames leaped up and burnt the washing line!

  37. Polly: I've been unable to get a good night's sleep for some months now. I used to sleep very soundly but now I wake at 4 or 5 am. Still, it means I can make steady progress on whatever book I'm reading.

    My parallel parking seems to get worse not better. Especially as I now have a slightly bigger car and I can't get the hang of its shape and size for the life of me.

    I found that image very quickly and thought it was brilliant. I haven't yet set a saucepan on fire but there's always a first time....

  38. Where did Ursula get that idea from? I'd have said the opposite.

    However, reading your list, several things spring to mind. How are you on mountaineering, juggling and doing card tricks?

  39. Oh dear, I've just glanced through the previous comments. You do cause a stir!

  40. Liz: Pretty hopeless at those too. I'm quite good at hill-walking though. And I can hide useful cards up my sleeve. Does that count?

    I had no idea this post would cause such a flutter in the dove-cotes. One of my most popular ever in fact.

  41. I've never set a saucepan on fire, but in the past I did blacken their bottoms many a time. I remember my husband walking in the door once, noticing the smell, and saying, "I see you've cook your specialty again --- burned broccoli." It never happens anymore because we use the microwave. It shuts itself off automatically.

    I also remember when I was in high school cooking some hard boiled eggs for dinner. I got engrossed in studying Spanish and didn't notice the smell until it was overpowering. Then I turned off the burner and tried to air out the room before my mother came home. It didn't work. Her reaction was, "How could you not notice the smell of burned eggs?!!" What can I say? When I focus I focus, and it's usually not about cooking.

    Great post!

  42. LOLOL!
    I love all these cooking stories. and I thought I was the only one hopeless at it!
    I once burned a roast so badly that the bone even turned to liquid.
    I couldn't face cleaning it so it sat on the back porch for months. (my mother is turning in her grave as we speak)about that.
    but I was busy getting or trying to get the burnt smell out of the house. it was beyond horrible. I can't describe it. worse than just burned. it was just smothering. and makes me shiver to this day. yuk.
    actually I'm lucky I didn't burn the house down I guess.

  43. Jean: I've burnt a few pans in my time, luckily not quite badly enough to have to chuck them. I once forgot about a pizza and opened the oven to find a charred smouldering inedible lump.

    Tammy: That must have been a horrible smell. But as you say, at least you didn't burn the house down!

  44. Tammy: The nastiest smell in my parents' house was the smell of the pesticide Rentokil. The house was infested with woodworm and my parents had to paint every single wooden surface with Rentokil to get rid of them. God, the stink!

  45. I bet my parallel parking is worse than yours - mine always end up as a three point turn - which I do rather well.

  46. Meanwhile, the banter on this blog is always a good read. People disagree... but still get on. I like that.
    You run a good comment box, Nick.

  47. Scarlet: I bet it isn't. However careful I am, I always end up crooked and at least a foot from the curb. And I've had almost four years to get used to this car!

    Most people agree to disagree, but some are doggedly disputatious....

  48. It looks more like the John Gray/ Rachel Phillips show....

  49. John: Rachel decided very quickly she didn't like me, so this is a Rachel-free zone.