Dear Cat & Fi: The One When I Pay my Coffee Forward

Dear Cat & Fi,

Hello there. So it’s Saturday night, I’m watching ‘Smack the Pony’ (more specifically this hilarious pisstake of All Saints they did) and it’s the second of the ‘Dear Cat & Fi’ blogs that I’m writing to you. I’ve made it to a second one so I think that deserves a little round of applause *goes to take bow, modestly* doesn’t it? Ah, thank you, you’re too kind. Anyhoo. Must focus on this week’s blog. But seriously, I’m glad you both liked the blog last week and the fact you both liked it means I can continue on with this little way of keeping in touch with you both.

So this week. It’s been a bloody warm one hasn’t it? Which has led me to realise that I hate one very specific thing about this weather in particular. Yes, I want to talk about possibly the worst summer based insect ever. Thunderbugs.

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No. Not the crap, one hit wonder girl group from off of the 90’s. (What was it with my brief flirtation as a 9 year old with rubbish girl groups who played instruments? Particularly ones with song lyrics such as the following: ‘Cause we’ll be, you’ll see / We’ll be friends forever / Like Thelma and Louise’). Although they were rubbish as well for very different reasons. No. I’m talking the little tiny insects that, the second you step outside into slightly muggier weather, are all over you like a particularly rape-y/slutty (delete adjective as applicable) pervert in a low grade nightclub.

If they’re not flying into your eyes and blinding you temporarily, thus making it impossible to walk, they’re in your hair. If they’re not in your hair and constantly making you feel dirty, they’re all over your clothes. And if they’re not all over your clothes, meaning you’re constantly swiping yourself as if you are smacking a particularly petulant small child, they’re flying into your mouth and leaving a horrible slightly acrid buggy taste on your tongue. Just why and who invented them? Do they have a purpose other than to irritate the life out of us when we’re hot and bothered as it is? DO THEY?!

I do know, Cat, that you in particular weren’t fond of them either. I also know there’s probably worse insects to be confronted with at the height of summer (wasps, I am looking at you. Well not directly at you per se but let’s just say you won’t be getting a Christmas card from me). But it just makes me long for when it’ll eventually get cooler and they’ll bugger off to Abu Dhabi or somewhere less muggy.

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In less irritating, buggy news, my absolute hero Joanna Lumley was back on the telly this week with her new series ‘Transiberian Adventure’ on ITV. I think it’s safe to say all us MacGregors love her from of course, playing Patsy in Ab Fab, and also with the wonderful stuff she did for the Gurkhas. But I equally love her travel shows she does – the BBC one she did tracing down the Northern Lights in Trondheim a few years ago was just magical. She’s like an incredibly more glamorous Michael Palin. This new series is basically her taking a trip through the Asiatics via a Transiberian railway, starting in Hong Kong and eventually finishing up in Moscow.

The second episode is on tomorrow night at 9pm, and the first episode is on ITV Player at the moment. Last week she’d got as far as Mongolia and seeing a lesser charted section of the Great Wall of China. Anyway, it’s a thing I bring up because that night, after seeing the episode, she was in my dream, and I proceeded to tell her that I was pursuing a career in writing and wanted to make a success of it, to which her reply in that deliciously soft, RP voice of hers was ‘Well darling, it’s definitely something you should keep up, you obviously have a great talent for it. And do send me some when its finished darling.’ And when I woke up I was like, ‘Yes, Joanna Lumley. I will keep writing. And I WILL send you some when its finished.’ Hopefully once my kid’s series is finished I can get her cast as one of the voices for the characters. She did a brilliant Ermintrude in that dreadful Magic Roundabout remake they did if I remember correctly.

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And also this week, I changed up the coffee sachets I have for work (good word, sachet. As I sashay up to the sachet) as, although I was a Nescafe boy for a good few years, too many changes to a formerly good recipe officially made me go off them in favour of Kenco, whose cappuccinos are far nicer and also, as it turns out, helping me to be a bit more ethical in my choices of food and drink. I suppose we all take for granted a bit that things like tea and coffee are just there in our day to day lives, and that we forget they are harvested and exported from a country where their standard of life is a million miles away from anything we experience.

Hence why I’ve signed up to Kenco’s new Rewards Club. Each product you buy of theirs has a code you can enter on your account on their website, which rewards you 10 points. And as your total builds up, you can either redeem the points in exchange for some average looking mugs or tea towels, OR you can do what I’m gonna do and redeem them towards projects they’re sponsoring in countries that harvest their coffee beans. Projects such as building local schools to help kids of the farmers get a good education, or install pumps in areas that might not have access to safe, clean drinking water, stuff we all take for granted so readily but that could really change the lives of those who deserve a fair return for what they offer us.

So that’s all that’s been happening this week. Cat – I am posting my birthday card to the bro in law either tomorrow or Monday. I shall get and write it after I’ve finished this. Fi – I shall ring you one night this week so speak to you then, Patricia Nelson ha.

Until next week, in the words of Doon MacKichan on Smack the Pony, I’m a beautiful lady with long golden hair, and HUUUGGE BREASTS.

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Luv-oo, Alex

x x

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