You Can't Teach An Old Dog A New Trick…

…but you can certainly drive a woman in her 30s to the bottle.

This is Harry.  Harry is clutching the saviour of my sanity in his paws.   Regular readers will know, when I say that K-man and I spent yesterday with his parents Millie and Phil, that mounting the gay rum bottle is the only way to salvage an evening.

Painful Anecdote 1:

Phil and Millie need to pay for something using a gift voucher.  The place they are paying for it is a high-profile charity, of which Phil and Millie are members, and for which they regularly volunteer and raise money.  The gift voucher is for 20 quid.  The value of their purchase comes to 60 pence left than that, and Lo! The charity will not give change because of the small amount involved.

You and I know that the sensible course of action would have been to declare the 60p a donation to said charity and merrily proceed through life, warm with the knowledge of a good cause well supported.

In Phil and Millie world, however, the appropriate course of action is a couple of minutes of huffing and puffing, during which time a queue that would rival for length that of one for a lifeboat aboard the Titanic has formed to their stern.  After some slightly peeved debate, and to add insult to injury in terms of delay, an item to the exact value of 60 pence must be sought and procured from the adjoining charity shop and added to the bill.

Phil and Millie were happy, but everyone in the vicinity shot our party with quite rational bullets of hate.

Painful Anecdote 2:

For the true level of pain to be understood here, you need two pieces of knowledge.  First, that both K-man and I are legally trained.  One of us has fairly decent knowledge of public administrative law and assorted associated frameworks.  Secondly, that Phil has one tone of voice: hectoring lecturer.  This tone was deployed in the following conversation, which I foolishly started in order to have something to say to pass the time without crying.

Me: K-man and I are going to have our chimney swept so that we can have a nice cozy fire this winter.

Phil: Oh, are there not regulations preventing you from burning in your area?

Me: Well, I expected there to be, but we’ve had a good look and can’t find anything telling us we can’t burn wood.

Phil:  You know, you might try looking…

Me: …yes? [thinking that perhaps there is a relevant regulatory repository of which I am thus far unaware]

Phil:  well, putting something into the Googles.

I had to bite down hard.  I think I may have even turned my back momentarily.  Yes, I confirmed, we had thought of using a well-known internet search engine as a research tool.

We won’t be seeing them this Christmas, praise Lard.

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6 Responses to “You Can't Teach An Old Dog A New Trick…”


  1. 1 Jonathan November 1, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I’m sorry… I read “mounting the gay rum bottle”, and my mind was completely done in lol

  2. 2 Jenn @ Juggling Life November 2, 2010 at 12:19 am

    I do believe we could trade in-law stories all day long.

  3. 3 unmitigated me (m.a.w.) November 2, 2010 at 1:17 am

    I suspect that after meeting Phil, the googles would also want to mount the gay rum bottle.

  4. 4 Bella Rum November 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Oh, how I love Phil and Millie updates. I must confess: the more painful they are, the funnier they are.

  5. 5 Jen on the Edge November 3, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Oh my. I would have wanted to hit the bottle too.

    Actually, when my husband’s mother was alive, I always wanted to drink vast amounts of booze when I was around her; however, I could not, because 1) she would judge me negatively if I had so much as a drop of wine (while her sons were free to drink vats of beer) and 2) I needed to keep my wits sharp when I was around her. Never knew when the next attack was coming.

  6. 6 Aunt Snow (g) November 4, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Oh, dear.

    The only way to deal with these situations is as you have done – make them into hilarious stories to share with us!


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