Reverse Psychology

I asked a friend if she knew what ANPR meant and she had absolutely no idea. To be fair, neither did I up until a couple of years ago. I just thought was a generic plate meaning ‘A Number Plate Registration’, like when you see ‘A N Other’ credit card template.


(I also had no idea what DHL stood for. ‘Delivering Heavy Loads’?)

I remember when I first passed my driving test aged 17. Buzzing, I drove straight to school in my terracotta (not brown) Ford Escort – PLW 930W. I have a freakishly good memory for things like number plates, most of my bank cards and the rap to ‘Buffalo Stance’ by Neneh Cherry, which was most likely playing on my car stereo at the time. It was a face-off one that I would casually hold with my car keys to indicate, “Hey, I’m driving”. Then it got a bit boring lugging the case around so I’d hide it under my driver’s seat instead. (Yes, the radio got nicked.)


I actually think this current eBay listing is my face off. I might bid. My ‘Five Star‘ cassette may still be in there and I want it back.

In the early days of passing, me and my Escort plus my suction-cup Garfield (still available at Argos) didn’t stray too far from home. On Day 2 I got a bit gung-ho and ended up heading North on the M1 instead of the North Circular. I pulled over in a panic onto the hard shoulder (I know.. so illegal) and called home on my Mercury One2One, sobbing down the phone that I wasn’t sure if my petrol would last. Dad calmly told me about these clever things called ‘exits’ every few miles.


Simpler times

I was taught road courtesy early on and if someone lets me out of a space or at a junction, I’ll give the universally understood ‘cheers mate’ with a palm raise/blink of the headlights or a hazard flash if they are behind me. Careful on this in Spain – it means “Hola mi amigo. I’m slowing down”.

Call me OCD (you can, I really don’t mind), but I always prefer to face the direction of traffic when parking on a road. It feels ‘neater’ and it’s a bugger to pull out if you’re on the ‘wrong’ side of a busy road. Plus, as my local dry cleaner who is based on a congested roundabout says, “People get really horny.”

When it comes to parking in a car park, I will almost always reverse in. Again with the neatness, plus it’s quicker and easier to pull away. But back up a sec and let’s get IN to the actual car park.

Pop Quiz:

Two barriers, the left one has three cars queuing to go in, the right barrier has just the one car just pulling up. Go for the shorter queue on the right you say?

Don’t be so hasty. I try not to create stereotypes but watch out for:

1) Foreign number plates: think about it.. LEFT HAND DRIVE!! They’ve got to lean over, or even GET OUT ALTOGETHER AND WALK ROUND in order to ‘press for ticket’ (painful)

2) Lil ole folk: the arms don’t quite reach the button, or they can’t quite achieve the ‘lean n reach’ out of the window. They open the door to get out. Then they press the assistance button instead of the ticket button. Then, they still have to get back in the car, buckle up and get back into gear.

Face it – you’re already well and truly through your barrier on the left. And yes, I know I will be this OAP one day.

Husband is a big driver – literally and metaphorically. He is very, very tall and often referred to as ‘Hightower’ from ‘Police Academy‘ fame. (Go on, watch the link. Best scene ever.) He drives in to Central London for work every day and I have suggested that he and one of his equally route-savvy mates pack in their day jobs and start up ‘Jewber’ – a private taxi service run by ‘Nice Jewish Boys’. MESSAGE FROM DRIVER: “Hymie is coming in a minute. Hold on. I know you’re on schpilkers to get to dinner.”


In case you can’t be bothered to watch the link it’s the bit where he rips the front seats out and essentially sits in the back

Whilst we are still on the car park thing, big props to Spanish car parks I use on holiday in the summer. No time wasted cruising up and down aisles looking for spaces, for they have these genius lights above each parking space:


Green = available. Red = occupied

No false hope of a space when you discover a smug little Micra (or worse still, a motorbike) nestled in what you thought was an available space.

I’d say I’m pretty calm on the road but bus lanes throw me. We’ve become so trained not to enter them that it doesn’t matter how many times you read the sign, you’re never quite convinced that you can drive in them because no-one else is. Pack mentality – much like when you go as a group across a box junction, praying you will all make it to the other side without stopping.


Yes? No? Maybe? What about Bank Holidays?

It’s a similar thing I suppose with parking. Even if you chance it because you’re 99.9% sure that sure it’s ok to park between 2:48pm and 4: 36pm on a residential road with a yellow line, your heart still races when you approach your car.


Even worse when you think you’ve got away with it but it’s tucked down below the wiper

I usually contest these tickets to the bitter end, with evidence, photos, back up documents etc. I like to present it all as if I was fighting a high profile court case, sending everything off by courier. Usually DHL – that’s Dalsey, Hillblom & Lynn, the founders, if you were still wondering.


That’s a Wrap…

At Uni I lived with five other girls, all of us very different but living harmoniously, mainly in the student kitchen where we honed our culinary skills before taking it down to our ‘cinema room’ (mouldy basement) to eat our dinner on lap-trays whilst watching ‘Friends’ (the original showing as opposed to the repeats on Comedy Central).

One evening, whilst watching a gripping episode of ‘Eastenders’, we heard thunderous footsteps down the stairs and then the front door slam. We called up to check on our housemate who was still faffing about in the kitchen (she still faffs) and she replied casually, “Who were those three blokes that just ran through our house?”

We had been burgled through an open upstairs window. Police were called, ID’s made – “three men, one wearing a baseball cap”. One laptop was nicked, but thankfully no-one was hurt. (Except possibly Dirty Den. Probably by a Mitchell brother.)

We were big on security after that. Windows locked, doors bolted and me being me, a final sweep of the house before bedtime. And by sweep, I mean literally, which takes me back to the whole point of this post…

To this day I find it hard to go to bed without everything being tidied up and put away. A cursory glance around the student kitchen before bedtime was always in order. And by ‘cursory’ I mean:

“FFS, can’t she put the milk back in the fridge?”

“Stupid bitch, can’t she wash her own plate up?”

“Silly cow, why can’t she ever empty the bin?”

We lived like – ..well, students really. Foil and cling film were luxury items so foodstuffs in the fridge were covered with um.. nothing. Or a spare plate. And the bin was a big issue for us princesses girls, mainly because you had to go out to the back alley, ‘Coronation Street’ style.

Another housemate (she knows who she is), lived on cheese slices that come in those pesky see-through wrappers that camouflage themselves so well onto kitchen surfaces.




Now living in my marital home, it’s my house, my rules.

I can’t bear it if crisp packets are opened ‘upside down’. (I also can’t wear my socks inside out and don’t trust people who bite into the middle of sandwich triangles.)




I’m actually more of a ‘chocolate’ than a ‘crisp person’, but if I had to (oh, go on then) it would be:

As my kids grow up and the consumption of ‘Captain Birds Eye’s finest’ thankfully reduces, this pleases me because:

  1. I don’t have to accept the ‘Omega 3’ substitute with my online shop. I can’t imagine what Omega 1 and 2 were like, but 3 aint any better
  2. Not to blow my own trumpet, but I can make tastier goujons myself. (*blows own trumpet*)
  3. I no longer have to view the ‘freezer murder scene’ when husband has been on kitchen duty. Fish finger packaging clearly says ‘tear along perforation’.

I shouldn’t be surprised seeing as this is his approach to opening Amazon packages:



As a child, I remember the wire ties and plastic clips that my grandma used on her little plastic bags of foodie delights.

I often wonder if she would have swapped these and her beaded food covers for my current favourite, Covermate food covers – basically ‘shower caps for food’.


Yes, she had the food umbrellas too

Big favourite in my house are clippits; ‘Bevara‘ if you speak Ikea. (Or ‘Ih-kay-yaah’ as the voiceover pronounces it.)


These get clipped on everything that is opened: flour, sugar, cereal, mouths.


Not quite ‘air tight’, but top marks for effort from my youngest

I would love to display all my dried foodstuffs in pretty and practical air-tight glass jars but me being me, I like to know the ‘best before date’. Plus, if husband struggles to flip down all four sides of a Lock & Lock container (another storage favourite), then I’m asking for trouble with a glass lid and a fiddly metal clip.


Ziploc bags are a big favourite for packets of sugar, flour, raisins, etc. Help to avoid spillover or ripped packaging and keeps everything tidy. Plus they’re super useful in the fridge for sealing stinky stuff like meat, cheese and fish. Wrap it in cling film all you like, but it will never get re-wrapped to my standard.

That’s not to diss cling film – it’s fab stuff. I love it best for skimming the fat off my chicken soup and I have been known to use it to poach eggs.

With foil, there is only one choice – Reynolds. This was E.T’s brand of choice in E.T. when he was building his comms equipment to ‘Phone Home’. (Yup – I notice these kind of things.) It’s brilliantly thick and strong and it never does that annoying ‘concertina ripping thing’ that happens with wafer-thin foil if you so much as breathe near it.


Years later, when University had ended but the friendships continued, us girls sat reminiscing over old Uni photos. There was one of all of us posing like idiots in our hallway, probably off to some Student Union themed night. There on the banister was my housemate’s favourite Stüssy cap.

“I loved that cap. I wish I still had it, but I lost it,” she said wistfully.

If this was a tv series, you would rewind back to the scene where we got burgled and see the three blokes legging it out of our house, one deftly grabbing a baseball cap off the banister post as they went…