Birthday and house move are approaching fast and I’m locked in an out-and-out battle with my ex landlord who has decided that rather than give my deposit back to me, he’d like to use it to pay for a long list of building works on his house (none of which are related to my stay of course) – now I remember why it’s better to own than to rent…
We go to Carcraft in Enfield (one of those huge car supermarkets) for a quick look at what’s on the market – not that I need a car right now, but mine’s on its last legs and I know that at some point in the next 12 months it’s going to finally give up the ghost and leave me somewhere half way up the M56 with nothing but a bag of murray mints and a towel to keep me amused while I wait to be rescued by the AA for the 10th time this year. From the moment we arrive til the second we leave, we are harassed by hoards of slimy, overzealous used car salesmen vying for our attention. At least five of them home in on us throughout the ten minutes we manage to stay there. I think I now know what it’s like to be a single woman in a cheap bar – constantly being approached by barely post-pubescent youths with ill-fitting suits and the charm of a dose of pig-flu trying any line they can to engage you in conversation. But I’m not playing ball – I try various tactics from smiling to scowling to pretending they are not there all. What I really want to do is tell them to bugger off and leave me a alone but my upbringing doesn’t allow for such bravado. I stick to the ignoring them tactic – it’s not really working, but at least I’m avoiding conversation. I notice a young couple sitting at a small Ikea desk who were not so lucky – they failed to hold the line and now they are stuck – like a pair of hapless wildebeest being savaged by a pack of hungry hyenas (and boy are they hungry right now). Luckily for us they have created the diversion we need and we make our escape relatively unscathed.
What I don’t really understand is how making people so uncomfortable that they want to leave as quickly as possible can be good for business. At some point I’ll have to bite the bullet and spend long enough in of of these places to go through with it and buy a car – but I make a promise to myself to delay the day as long as I possibly can – and to never risk this place again. I’ll be chancing my arm on ebay…
Anyway, once back it’s time to make a simple Chicken Liver Pate…
Roughly chop an onion, a few cloves of garlic and a little chopped red chilli and fry in a pan with butter. After a few minutes add about 250g of chicken livers to the pan and continue to fry on a moderate heat. Next add half a glass of white wine, plenty of seasoning and cook for about five minutes allowing the wine to reduce and the livers to cook through.
In a blender, add a handful of chopped parsley and few tablespoons of cream cheese then add the liver mixture and blend to a smooth paste.
Turn in out into a bowl and top with a large nob of butter which will melt and form a seal over the pate.
Leave it in the fridge – if you can bear to wait then give it a day before cracking it open…
Jonny, nice post. Re car sales tactics. I thought I would check out the BMW 3 series recently, after finding out the 5 series wont fit in my parking spot. Yes I know it is quicker just to tape a “w$nker” sticker to my forehead, but this aside, I was interested. I popped down to the local dealer at the weekend. I had on my usual weekend attire ( nondescript, optimistic appraisal ) and took the kids aged 4 and 5 too. Just to see if they would fit in the back of a 3-series you understand. I had no intention to buy. I told non-pushy Salesman One this and that I was just checking dimensions.
Well the kids jumped into the back of a 320i ( lots of space, as it happened ) while I sat in the front. Meanwhile Salesman One volunteered USD 8000 off the car, just in case I did want to buy sometime. Salesman Two popped over with some BMW pens for the kids. The sort with removable “pull back and go” miniature cars on the top. Quite bold to give a 4 year old a pen when he’s sitting in a lemon leather-upholstered BMW. Kids impressed. We then tried the 120i cabriolet. Great looking car, but no room in the back, even for 4-year olds.
At this point the kids are bored with the pens and decide to get serious about evaluating the BMW paintwork, in particular how it reacts to greasy fingers being pressed on to it. Well it reacts splendidly, in that it shows every mark on the high gloss showroom shine. I tell them to stop, a bit embarrassed, but Salesman One laughs and says, no problem, and then proceeds to put his own hands on the paintwork mimicking the kids. Kids mightily impressed with this BMW Funhouse we seem to have lucked into.
Finally we finished our chat, and Salesman One offers to drive a 5-series over to my house to see if we can squeeze it into the parking spot, anytime. They they dont even sell the 5 series, but he can obtain one to help this experiment. I leave with a couple of BMW baseball hats ( one for each kid ) in addition to the pens.
Moral: move to Japan. The food is good too.
I hate you. For more reasons than I can put on this page. But here are a few for starters:
You live in a better place. You write better stories. And I bet when we finally reunite you’ll still look about 20.