Helen Martin: '˜Wonky' veg is real veg

IT may be freezing, occasionally icy and with blasting gales, but this is also the season where the air is thick with scent.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 22nd February 2016, 8:51 am
Updated Monday, 22nd February 2016, 8:55 am
Wonky veg. Picture: Asda
Wonky veg. Picture: Asda

THE public have changed their minds about misshapen vegetables, we are told. They now love carrots that look like a pair of legs or horseshoe-shaped cucumbers, so much so that Asda has started selling boxes of “wonky” veg.

Old folks like me realise this is all a load of rubbish (which is where odd-shaped parsnips have been consigned for decades).

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Go back to the 60s and folks accepted that veg came in all shapes and sizes. “Wonky” began with supermarkets who ruled out anything that didn’t conform to their mindlessly rigid ideals, costing farmers millions and wasting and destroying tonnes of perfectly good food.

Real veg IS wonky. A tray of anything perfectly matched in shape and size looks as if it’s been manufactured and processed rather than grown in the ground. Anyone with the slightest discernment would pay more for wonky boxes, not less.

Bad sense and scents ability

IT may be freezing, occasionally icy and with blasting gales, but this is also the season where the air is thick with scent.

Women, drenched in perfume, can be spotted walking alone and windswept on Arthur’s Seat and Blackford Hill, or anointed in fragrance when they go out to empty the bins. Some may also have clothes pegs on their nose.

It’s the post-Valentine’s Day period. Well-meaning chaps have made the lovely gesture of buying their partner huge bottles of perfume with, to say the least, awkward results.

The stuff girls dab behind their ears and on their wrists is a highly personal choice and much more complex and individual than a favourite colour, choosing a pair of shoes or a lipstick. Scent is not merely a matter of how it smells in the bottle or on these useless little bits of testing card shop assistants spray and ram under the customer’s nose.

Not only do different smells appeal to different people, but each perfume alters depending on the chemical make-up and smell of the person who’s wearing it. And none of us are made of paper card.

A friend of mine, a delicate and sophisticated lady, spent some time living in France and adores Chanel No.5 which, on her, smells like a French summer meadow of wildflowers. On me it smells as if someone has dumped a bag of silage over my head.

C’est la vie. But then came Valentine’s Day when Himself, usually a genius at present buying, had

ventured into a high street perfumery purveyor on the basis that you can’t go wrong with nice smelly stuff.

He bought a giant bottle of Ghost eau de toilette – which just happens to be my worst nasal nightmare. Some people love its sweet, highly floral tones which rest easy on their skin, but on me it’s like waking up in a fudge factory with a hangover. I could sum it up as “bilious”.

Dilemma. Do I “ooohh” with apparent delight and join my sisters on the hill taking every opportunity to use it all up in the fresh air where I can breathe without being sick and no-one else is around to smell me? Well, I could have done, but then he might have thought I loved it so much I could look forward to an even bigger birthday bottle.

So what could I say? “Very thoughtful and generous, thank you . . . kiss . . . not quite my usual . . . good to try something different

. . . maybe I’ll get used to it.”

Eventually we agreed we’d find someone who liked it and sell it on at a bargain price – which on that very morning dog walk with friends, we did. It smells rather good on her.

So here are some tips for the chaps. Is she wearing it round the house as opposed to on a night out, and are the contents disappearing so quickly some of it might just have accidentally spilled down the sink? Did you check her make-up bag, dressing table or drawers to find out which perfume she chooses to buy for herself before you selected what the sales girl recommended at total random? How about asking her what her favourite scent is before Christmas, then get her a book, jewellery or a new phone instead. That way you can give her a nice surprise on Valentine’s next year.

Day surgery cuts are step too far for patients

MOVES are afoot in NHS Lothian to stop day surgery under general anaesthetic at the new Roodlands Community Hospital in Haddington.

Not only is that a real shame – I have twice had day surgery at the current Roodlands and it was gold star, friendly, cosy and caring – but the alternative is the dreaded Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

We all know the ERI has struggled from one scandal to another since it opened. Parking charges are horrendous. It’s so vast and impersonal that it has “lost that loving feeling” and already has insufficient beds. For serious illness and complex operations, specialist centres are the answer.

But for day surgery, community hospitals are a more pleasant experience for the patient, and surely the last thing we want is even more pressure on Little France.

Scrap the BBC licence fee now

A rejig of one broadcasting company’s output is neither here nor there now that TV’s gone global.

Scrap the BBC state licence fee and privatise it so that our governments can get on with the really important challenges facing Scotland and the UK.