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The Book

Out now at Amazon | Waterstones

Middle Class Handbook on Twitter
Chattering Class

Prince Harry

Even republicans approve, surely?

Microwaving tea

Recommended by scientists, apparently. Disgusting

No televised election debates

Disappointing; we were rather looking forward to May vs The Sturge

Broadchurch

Olivia Coleman = nailed-on Future National Treasure

Spring Bank holidays

Too close together! Very bad!

Bin-mageddon

“I queued for THREE BLOODY HOURS at B&Q for a new recycling bin! The entire town’s in CHAOS”

S-Town

To be listened to whole on a long journey for maximum effect

Using a proper paper map

Strangely satisfying

The “Flash” Flash ad

It’s back! Possibly the best ever singing dog in an advert ever

Crap tacos

Reheated, with too much chilli: middle-class kebabs, basically

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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Entries in Richard B (45)

    Tuesday
    Aug302011

    Irrational holiday annoyances #30: The way it is always, always raining when you land back in the United Kingdom

    We have tried to avoid the obvious topic of meteorological conditions while compiling this list of holiday annoyances, but as we’re nearing the end we can no longer avoid it. Bad weather while away is rotten, of course, but even worse is the depressing gloom that always greets you as your plane touches down in Blighty as you return from a happy, sun-kissed time abroad. It is like the god of real life arranging a “welcome” to remind you that you’ve had your fun, and should now forget all those ideas you had on holiday about working differently, or changing your life. Of course there must have been some people who have come home to warm, fine weather; but that is Other People. For you and I, my holiday-returning friend, it’s nothing but grey skies til you go back to work.

    Flickr: Jkr1812

    Monday
    Aug292011

    Irrational holiday annoyances #29: Worrying about your valuables when going for a swim

    This is a problem so common and concentrated that it’s amazing free market capitalism has not come up with a solution. You and your friend/partner/spouse are sunbathing on the beach. You both wish to go in the sea. You both have a wallet, camera and keys. What to do? Take them with you and risk getting them wet, or leaving them there, and trying to keep an eye on them from a distance as you bathe? There is of course no satisfactory answer, but most people plump for the latter; thankfully beach theft seems pretty rare but still, this remains a niggling worry of the kind that one supposedly goes on holiday to avoid.

    Flickr: Jo_Jeri

    Friday
    Aug192011

    Irrational Holiday Annoyance #19: Unappreciative Children

    Unappreciative holidaying children is a secret, vexed issue that most middle-class parents will not even admit to, because complaining about it can make you sound a ludicrous snob. Essentially, it is a problem of conflicting priorities; you want to take your children to see something “interesting”, while they want to have a laugh. The holiday thus becomes a push-pull between bouncy castle and seal sanctuary, shops and ruins, disco and – well, by then it’s too late anyway. The key moment always comes towards the end when the middle-class parent, encouraged by the child’s apparent keenness on the museum’s interactive exhibit, dares to ask “what was your favourite thing on the holiday?”, only to discover that it was “you letting me watch Spongebob on your iPad, mum.”

    Flickr: Joe Bielawa
    Wednesday
    Aug102011

    Irrational holiday annoyances #10: The embarrassing, secret boredom you feel at sites of great historical interest 

    A friend of the Middle Class Handbook once spent several days driving the hundreds of miles from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. On arriving, he and his friend parked up and walked to the edge to gaze out on this vast, natural wonder. Then they drove a little further along, and gazed from a different angle. After about 40 minutes, they had to acknowledge an uncomfortable fact; they had seen it, they thought it was incredibly spectacular, they were glad they had come, and, er, that was quite enough, thanks. Feeling oddly guilty, they did what anyone would do in that situation – prolonged the visit by going to the gift shop and café. This is surely a familiar feeling for many middle-class people, who have journeyed to important sights or ruins and felt awkwardly underwhelmed. Being middle class, the feel obliged to hang around, but really, there is no need. Just take a picture and go back to the hotel it’s all anyone wants to do really.

    Tuesday
    Aug092011

    Irrational holiday annoyances #9: The moment you realise the cabin on your cruise ship really is that small

    Anyone who’s been on a cruise will (unless they are very rich) definitely know this feeling. It affects you most the first time. Although you’ll have tried to imagine the size based on the measurements shown in the brochure, you’ll still have the idea that the cabin with be something like the luxurious ones shown on TV whodunits set in the 1920s; teak panels, portholes, room to make a cup of tea. Alas, on entering the real thing, you will see no porthole, and wonder if you have entered via the walk-in wardrobe by accident. There are many good things about cruises; cabin sizes, however, are not one of them.

    Flickr: roger3336
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