Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

19.2.19

How to read your way out of a heatwave.

On the long sweltering days of a late summer I like, if I can find the time, to switch on my internal air conditioning by reading something from another time, another place, another climate.

One of my favourite things to read (we could be talking 'genres' if we were a book club, but we are not) is period fiction and I don't mean regency romances but gritty 1960s British thrillers. Eugene George was a pen-name of Paul Chevalier. (They all seemed to have pen-names - nom de plume to you, Mr Book Club Guy.)

George/Chevalier wrote only a few books and is unknown to the extent that you cannot google him, but I Can See You But You Can't See Me is a masterpiece of the sinister British style. (My short review posted at Neglected Books, a godsend for readers now listed in the sidebar.)

I Can See You But You Can't See Me by Eugene George
Hamish Hamilton, London, 1966

7.2.19

Broken pen theories.

Why don't people throw out ballpoint pens that no longer work?

You want to shout at these people. It doesn't work! Throw it out!

I was in an office recently and, of nine ballpoint pens sitting in one of those plastic pen caddies given out by print suppliers or pharmaceutical companies, six didn't work*.

I've been thinking about this and I have several theories why the pens never get thrown out and end up back in the drawer.

Theory 1

A ballpoint pen that has run out of ink doesn't look broken - and people only throw out things that look broken.

Theory 2

They are not sure whether the pen has run out of ink. They think it might be that the paper is waxy. The pen gets the benefit of the doubt.

Theory 3

My most compelling theory: people are lazy and the waste bin is too far away. Straight back in the drawer.

*

There's a thesis in this. Maybe a book.

Where's my pen?

*

*I put them back. It was not my office. It wasn't my job to throw them out. (That introduces another theory: that pens are ownerless, like cats.)