Life & Culture

Hidden dangers from carrots

Rosengard’s Tip of the Week: Be careful with carrots


Saturday evening

“The other night there were two men here at the table next to me talking very loudly in Dutch. Of course I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. Suddenly, after 20 minutes, I realised they weren’t Dutch. They were from Glasgow.”

I am sitting at my latest favourite Italian restaurant, enjoying one of the only good things to come out of Covid — eating outside. I feel like I’m in Rome.

But I only recently discovered that the wonderful Over The Top Italian owner (very big on the ‘Ciao Bellas’ and ‘Buona Seras’) is not Italian at all. He’s Spanish! But now I suspect he’s really Scottish.

Clearly it’s a non-nationality-binary restaurant.

I point towards a large black motorbike in the bike parking bay opposite.

“Every time I‘m here, the guy comes and gets on it and revs up very loudly for two minutes before zooming off — after driving everyone mad.”

My friend Chris gets up and goes inside the restaurant. He comes out carrying something by his side, walks across the road to the bike bay and then comes back a minute later.

“What did you just do?” I ask.

“I stuck a very large carrot right up his exhaust. He won’t be doing any revving up tonight. He’s not going anywhere.”

Ten minutes later, ‘Motorbike Man’ appears and gets on his bike.

He starts the engine and revs up very loudly, as usual, for two minutes and then roars off.

“I think I stuck the carrot up the wrong bike’s exhaust”, Chris says.

Sunday morning

l I take the train from Paddington to Cornwall with my daughter. “Why aren’t we driving down, Dad?” she asks as the train leaves the station.

“One: I hate driving. Two: I’m a terrible driver. Three: driving down now takes up to 12 hours — everybody is heading for a staycation in Cornwall.”

“This is my first holiday in England since I was a child”, I tell her.

“Dad, that’s not true! We went to Cornwall when I was five, remember? The Penzance Bomb Disposal Squad drove on to the beach and blew up a Cornish Liberation Front bomb that had been left outside a police station!”

“OK, apart from that one time.”

“Also, when I was 11 we stayed at your friend’s house in Bognor”, she said.

How could I have forgotten Bognor? “What’s it like here?” I’d asked a large Albanian bouncer one night outside the kebab shop on the sea front.”

“Bognor? It’s a bloody war zone.” he’d said.

Just after Dawlish I look out of the coach window. It is pouring down and the grey choppy sea is right next to the train. One large wave would send us all swimming.

But I don’t care about the weather. I’m going for a week’s holiday with my daughter, who’s now 25.

Lisa, the owner of the ‘Spot On’ taxi company, is waiting for us at St. Austell station.

It wasn’t difficult to find her. She was sitting in a white car with big black spots all over it.

“What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you driving a taxi?” I ask.

“I once picked this man up at his house near St Ives. He was going to London. We got in the car and we’d got a few miles up the road when suddenly he shouted ‘STOP!’.

“‘What’s wrong!?’ I asked.

“‘We’ve got to go back! I’ve forgotten my family,’ he said.”

The house I have rented is at the top of a steep hill with wonderful views of the little harbour with its red blue and white fishing boats.

Every morning it takes me just four minutes to walk down the hill into the town for my daily Cornish pasty.

It then takes me 45 minutes to walk back up the hill. I have to sit down every 30 yards… to admire the view.

“Are you OK?” a woman asks as she passes me sitting on someone’s front steps.

“Yes, I’m fine. Don’t worry, I don’t like to run all the way up.”

Last week my iPhone had told me I’d walked 40 steps the previous day. “So many?” I asked myself. “I must have gone to the fridge twice.”

London Sunday evening

l Sitting outside my second favourite Italian restaurant, my spaghetti arrives. Picking up the large brown wooden pepper grinder, I start grinding away. I like a lot of pepper.

I take a forkful of spaghetti and spit it out. It was SALT!

I ask the waiter: “Why have you put salt in the pepper grinder!?”

“It is due to Covid. We’ve had to change everything round.”

Now, I’m as woke as the next man-he/she /they/other. But gender fluid grinders? Non-binary pepper and salt-shakers!? Transgrinders?

London Monday evening

Back again at my favourite Italian restaurant, I’m telling a story about a dinner party I’d been to just before lockdown.

I sat next to a very eminent proctologist. I knew that because he told me, “I am a very eminent proctologist.”

“What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever found up there?” I asked.

“A very large carrot”, he said. “The patient told me he’d been in a rush to get ready for a dinner party he was hosting, so to save time he thought he’d shower and wash his vegetables at the same time — and he slipped.”

Rosengard’s Tip of the Week: Be careful with carrots.

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