Living Without TV? Let’s Consider It Doable

SO, how are we doing without a telly, then? Well, not too bad, actually. I’ve even taken up crochet! So far, I haven’t progressed much beyond the odd, irregular-shaped doily, but I’m hoping to work my way up to a nice vest dress with matching hat, handbag, shoes, conservatory, DVD player, power shower and Fiat Punto. Ha! Only teasing. Crochet? I could no more crochet than Boris could, say, stop his hair from flopping all over the shop. (Boris: I recommend Aveda Hair-Smoothing Serum. It’s pricey, but does the job while simultaneously conditioning. I say this for your own good, and because last time you appeared on Question Time you nearly knocked out Ken Loach with each swing of your head. Poor Ken. Didn’t know what was hitting him. Apart from your hair, that is.) We did try to do without telly for an evening but, believe me, it was ugly. We tried `Having a Conversation’ but that was a total failure.

tv-fun`How come you never empty the dishwasher?’ I asked my partner.





Conversation is terribly overrated in my opinion, especially when you know that Alma’s funeral is going on without you and that Helen, from the Big Brother house, might be saying something brilliantly thick like, `Ooooo look, Bur-bel. There’s a foot at the end of my leg!’ (I tell you, if her brow was any lower, that would be on the end of her leg.) I thought about doing some gardening, even took the seed packets out of the kitchen drawer, but then realised I’d missed all the sowing times, and promptly put them back so that next year I can take them out and not bother to plant them all over again. We would have played Mousetrap, but couldn’t find the diving board. We would have played Monopoly, but couldn’t be arsed. So we just sat around, looking glum, until I came up with the most brilliant idea. `I know,’ I said. `Let’s play getting the telly fixed! I’ll start by rushing it down to the repair shop. OK?’ So that’s what we did. And now the telly’s back. It’s lovely. Although, obviously, it means I can’t stop long this week, what with Watercolour Challenge beginning in a minute and everything.

In fact, things are looking up all round. You know that small, underpaid, part-time job I’ve got at the Independent? Well, I’ve got a new boss, Richard. Richard now has the most influence on my salary. My old boss, Tristan, has moved over to the Independent on Sunday and now has no influence on my salary whatsoever. My old boss, I can now see, was never that handsome. I think what I had for him was just a silly crush, actually, and not the real thing at all. Plus, his eyes are rather close together. Richard, though? He has dark curly hair and is jolly good-looking with lovely eyes. Brown, yes, but a very pleasant shade and nicely spaced. I am quite hopeful of Richard. The first time we meet, I even buy him lunch.

Well, that might be stretching it a bit. What I do is order lunch in from the Internet company Circus Olive, which delivers gourmet lunches to your desk. A top idea? Well, it is if your offices are at Marsh Wall, which is a rather desolate place. No eateries to speak of at all. Just one super-dooper-sized Asda supermarket, and I hate Asda. I’m much more of a Waitrose sort of person. You get a better class of person in Waitrose, I think. Certainly you don’t get the high rate of smacking-per-aisle that you get in Asda. Some days, you can hardly move in Asda for all those women from tower blocks walloping Brittany or Ronan or Chantelle or Tyrone or whomever. I don’t know what it is about Asda. Although, now I think about it, it might have something to do with the fact that it has 498 aisles dedicated to vivid, neon-orange, genetically modified maize snacks. Gosh, this makes me sound appallingly haughty and snobby, doesn’t it? But I’m not. I once went on public transport. OK, it was only for one stop and the person next to me was poor and smelly and vile, but at least I bothered to give it a go. And there’s a lot to be said for people who live in tower blocks, if only I could think what it was.

And the in-house canteen? Well, they’re very sweet in the River Cafe — I wish I was joking — and do their best, but the last time I went in I ordered a toasted sandwich which came out with such great big marks across it, it looked less as if it had been toasted and more as if it had been stamped on by a skinhead wearing Doctor Martens. So I order in from Circus Olive.

Circus Olive, who deliver to certain London areas, say they are in the business of `redefining fast food’. Circus Olive say, `With the help of our nutritionist, our Michelinstar chef brings you great food every day — food that suits your taste, your body and your mood, delivered to your desk by courier, for around only 6 [pounds sterling] a meal.’ This sounds the ticket, I must say. I order it in for ten. I am much nicer to the people I work with than they deserve. Although that doesn’t include Richard, of course. He dresses very nicely, too, by the way. You know, not too formal, not too casual, but just right.

The food has been ordered for 1 p.m. and that’s when it arrives. Precisely. You can order either individual lunchboxes or a bit of everything for a number of people to share. We go for the bit of everything. This is what we get: marinated salmon with deep-fried oyster; beetroot salad with goat’s cheese and pomegranate; guinea fowl with wild mushrooms; spiced rice pilaff; bubble-and-squeak; polenta with fresh tomato sauce; grilled red pepper and tomato salad; spiced green beans and braised cabbage with marjoram.

It’s all brilliantly good. `Superb. Particularly the guinea fowl, even though it tastes rather of chicken,’ says John. `Delicious. Fantastic,’ says Claire. `Thank you for lunch,’ says Richard. `It’s too fancy for me,’ says Charles. Charles, I think, has a tower block somewhere in his background. Charles would only deign to eat all the bubble-and-squeak. Charles had tiramisu for pud. `Sickly, with too much chocolate powder on top,’ he then said.

`Did you finish it?’

`Yes. Of course. But I prefer Black Forest gateau.’

One day, I hope, Charles will take me back to his tower block, where we can do working-class things, like sit on a Dralon sofa in front of an electric fire, then go to the toilet in the lift or on the stairwell. That would be fun. There’s one little lemon tart that comes with the puddings, too. I think about giving it to Tristan, but then decide to give it to Richard because, frankly, Tristan ought to watch his weight a bit, whereas Richard doesn’t have to. He must be one of those men who is just naturally fit.

Anyway, got to go. I’ve got a lot of telly to catch up on. Maybe I will take up crochet one day. Hey, then I could even crochet a new hairdo for Boris. He’d like that, I think. Richard, by the way, doesn’t need a new hairdo. He’s got those lovely dark, dancing curls, remember?

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