Tuesday, February 22, 2011

bowls, potatoes, the state of the nation

I broke the second of these pearlescent bowls today. My sister gave me the set, and I like them so much that when I imagine the film of my life (silent, black & white, low-budget) it is as a series of stills of me holding a bowl of muesli, then of raspberries, then of ice-cream, and so forth, as the seasons change and I age, looking wistfully hungry throughout.
[image: dotmaison]

Seeking to replace them, I go online. A set of the bowls costs 16 to 25 pounds sterling, depending on where you buy it. Shipping to Ireland costs about 32 pounds. 32 pounds is quite a lot, agrees the retailer whom I contact, for such a small package, but in fact, he tells me, I can buy up to 10 kilos of goods for this same shipping fee.

Ever conscious of Value For Money, I calculate that I can buy 50 bowls at a cost of about 250 pounds, and have the lot shipped to me for 32 pounds. Is this Value For Money? Or not? I only want 4 bowls.

I'm asking you because we here in Ireland are not good at Value For Money. What we've been getting in return for our tax contributions are some extremely generously pensioned politicians and senior civil servants, now retiring gracefully from the scope creep they've presided over, but it's only lately that we've stopped to think, "hmmm, are extremely generous pensions that aren't for us really what we want?"

During the boom times, we never bothered to ask as the misallocation of our money was covered by the general gloss of success. Now that the gloss has given way to low-sheen times, we're emailing our public sector to ask why it has awarded itself benefits that tend to be considerably greater than those of the private sector that finances it. Robert from the Deflection Desk has forwarded our query to Christine, who is on sick leave till April.

At least our potatoes are in good shape. I stood in the supermarket the other day and had a good close look at them, under the bright lights, and there was no sign of blight. Do you find supermarket lights are particularly bright in the vegetable aisle, so that extra mascara is needed to look one's very best while checking for signs of impending Famine?

In the Meadows and Byrne accoutrements section (less harshly lit), I spot these jam-jar covers. Ah, how Blogtopian, I think with delight, but the Value For Money alarm rings in my head and I wonder whether 5 euros is a bit much for 5 squares of fabric and 5 elastic bands. I could make my own, if the trade unions don't mind. Then I recall that I own no pinking shears, so buy them anyhow. I hope the manufacturers get the sales and success they deserve for correctly identifying our nation's lack of a pair of pinking shears.


  1. Have you considered running for PM in the next Blogtopian elections?? You could then claim your bowls as part of your living allowance...

  2. 32 euros to ship to Ireland from the UK!! I charge €9.50 to the UK!
    i remember contacting a company in the UK who shall remain nameless if they shipped to our Emerald Isle and honestly, the response sounded like we were in Timbuctoo or even the other hemisphere!

  3. Did I just hear you say scope creep? That's the big thing in my business...

  4. i'm very dissapointed that you didn't have the good sense and patriotism to painstakingly use your nail scissors to imitate the shapes of the pinking shears , sure what else would you be doing ? AND you could save a fortune on mascara by growing your own potatoes.....jesus mise, will ye ever cop on ...

  5. Excellent decision making. The jam-jar covers were a much more reasonable indulgence.

  6. It sounds like The Emerald Isle is becoming America.

    This is how our money flows also. To the haves away from the havenots.

    Why does it always begin and end with banks and mortgages and bankrupt countries?

    Too much to consider so late at night. I love the jam jar covers. I could use one please. My top is missing.

    My house is safe, I hope yours is also.

    xo Jane

  7. I am quite sad for what has happened to Ireland. Last night I watched a documentary about people leaving Galway to move here to Melbourne to get jobs.

    Those bankers and their ilk, some of whom are my friends, have a great great deal to answer for. And yet they still swan around with their bonuses and clever schemes, unpunished and unexposed and in deniL.

    The politicians have failed us all (globally) in that respect as they have not brought them to heed.

    I am sad about your bowl too. They are very nice. xox

  8. It does sound like some checks and balances have been neither checked nor balanced ~ a sad state of affairs. As for your Value for Money dilemma, if it's any consolation, you can eat muesli, raspberries and ice-cream together in one bowl, so you still do have one spare up your linen sleeve if needs be.

  9. Yes, but by buying the (utterly charming) jam jar covers *instead of* the bowls, you've in fact saved yourself about 50 euros.

    And doesn't that feel good?

    As for your class of freeloading elected officials: It seems that politicians, like potatoes, are also subject to blight, unfortunately.

  10. I totally agree with You. There are many lovely things not available in Ireland and that shipping cost so much. Uuuu, and if we have problems with these things like me with a sewing machine is expensive to send it back. Please retailers, more choice in reasonable prices here!
    XOXO :)

  11. If you continue to break the bowls at the present rate, Mise, then getting 50 might make sound economic sense?

    I refuse to take home the squares of crimp-cut gingham on the tops of home-made jam, and give them back to the offended seller, telling them to use them again, as I will only throw them straight in the bin when I get home.

  12. You've got a serious case of Thrift, by the sound of it. And you are right to be outraged. If ever I make that trip over to Ireland (when my own Thrift has cleared up), I would be happy to bring you a set of bowls, shipping free!

  13. I agree with Tom - depending how quickly you break them, you may, in fact, be cannily purchasing yourself a lifetime's worth of bowls, and perhaps the aforementioned retailer would offer you a discount for purchasing 250 of them? Alternatively, you could source some plain bowls locally, then paint them yourself and have them fired in some local artisan's kiln - now THAT's Blogtopian!

  14. Frugality Fatigue, mise? Unfortunately, we all have this disease.

  15. Ha ha- they are very cute. And worth every penny.

  16. It depends which colors you broke, but you may need to get more despite the price, or go for the big lot and give them as gifts (not to me though, because then you'd have to ship them again). Please be gentle on the public sector, some of us must work in it. And it's not all bowls and roses.

  17. I'm hoping Enda gets in- but only because I love his name- is it really a name for a fully grown man? Shouldn't you leave it behind with playmobile and spot cream? Anyway, here's to Enda- husband tells me that's muchly a woman's response. The chauvinism of it....

  18. I saw them in meadows and byrne but I have pinking scissors and I thought thats a lovely idea! But my jars do not look as lovely as yours as I have not pinked yet!! As for the policitians - they are a disgrace! Sinead x

  19. Lorna, your shipping rates are very decent. It's a wonder the UK isn't swimming in household fripperies by now.

    LPC, I used to combat scope creep. My heart was never in it.

    Jaboopee, yes, I wish I could make my own bias binding like you. It would make all the difference.

    Thank you Jane and Jane. I hope the Galwegians were presentable and mannerly in that documentary.

  20. Shell, very sensible indeed. You are a bowl-utilising supremo.

    Monika, that's bad news about the sewing-machine. No bias binding for you either, I guess.

    Barbara, I don't mean you. You're very nice and also industrious and smart. I can tell that even at this distance.

  21. Hmmm - how much was a pair of pinking shears and could you salvage anything from the politicians' clothes for the top of your Bonne Maman jars?
    Damn those politicians. How can we get around voting for them Mise? I keep asking myself the question :(

  22. Whenever I decide to talk politics I get ranty and complainy, and even sweary. I admire your ability to remain serene and pretty while showing steel and making strong points!

    Also, I've been out of the world of work for so long I had to google 'scope creep'. Am even more in awe

  23. It's a revolution. A potato in every pot and a colored bowl set for every cupboard.

  24. I think that it is very likely that the other two bowls are going to go the same way as the first two so, perhaps you could all have your cornflakes out of large or as the French say, grande, Bonne Maman jars ?!! I think that I have a couple of empty ones in my jar filling office !!
    ...... oh, and I think that Daryl Hannah would make a great Mise in the film of the same name !! XXXX

  25. i had to google 'scope creep'too and i'm still non the wiser but i do love you very much mise and you'r MY very best fried (sic) AND i've some bias binding that i've made into a poem for you ,presentation shortly .
    ps you are MY VERY BEST FRIEND.

  26. If you were to buy that many bowls, think of all the extra stills you could take. Of course considering the cost of the added film, salaries, food for crew, food to put in extra bowls, and you must expand the publicity, etc. you will probably be over your original budget. Never fear, you simply charge more for the movie tickets and popcorn. Film titled: Mise Spoons Scope Creep from Pretty Bowls.

  27. I left a Stylish Blogger award over at Inkpots n' Quills, come on over and collect it you Stylish Blogger you!

  28. Quite clearly there's a famine ahead. It might only be a famine of pearlescent cereal bowls, but one must be prepared. You need to stockpile. Bowls. Cupcake cloches. Bonne Mamman jars. Dehydrated corn. And haven't you always wanted to give us a canning demonstration?

    It's a mindset Mise. You must be prepared to cop the exhorbitant shipping cost, safe in the knowledge that when the great homewares famine hits Ireland, you alone will be ready with pearlescent bowls to onsell, Bonne Mamman jars to upcycle and pinking shears at the ready. Scottish husband will praise your entreprenurial nouse and place you firmly on a pedestal. Meredy xo.

  29. Speccy, how kindly you put it; I'll be quoting you on the back cover of my imaginary bestselling denunciation of this and that.

    Jacqueline, so long as Joanna Lumley plays you, that's a done deal. You may have to give her some jar management lessons as it's such a rare and specialised skill.

    Jaboopee, I was worried there that my photo of some extremely left wing dried goods had scared you away. What a relief!

  30. The only solution is to purchase all 50 of these lovely bowls and sell them to your friends at a profit. What are friends for after all? :}

  31. I saw the same docu. as Jane did & it's horrible. 2,000 people are turning up at the weekly Information Nights the Aussie Consulate are running about emigrating....what a disgrace. If you think the shipping rates to Ireland are high, try getting something sent here. Renovation Hardware in the US wanted me to sign over my First Born Son & then part with AUD160 just to send one candle!
    Millie x

  32. I'm just so relieved about the potatoes. I've been worrying about the whole nation!

  33. i dont even know what scope creep means... but i like the sound of the words :)
    PEI potatoes are looking pretty good right now too!
    ~laura xx

  34. But which April? That's what I want to know...

  35. No blight on the potatoes - tick. Shopping for veg in the supermarket? Big lifestyle blogging black mark.

    Mise, surely you know that you must only buy veg from farm shops, WI markets and earnest specialist producers? - Where incidentally, the jam jars are always pre customised with a pinked gingham jam jar cosy.

    If you must venture into Dunnes Stores, then please don't mention it here again - you have an image to protect.

    You must invest in a wicker shopping basket (preferably from Kath Kidston), possibly lined in some adorable retro fabric, possibly pinked with those now indispensable shears.

    Then you should aim to spend at least five hours every week wafting from farm gate to farm gate (where the lighting is always kind - especially between 4-5pm). If you can find a vegetable only consumed by the Tudors or merely in season for a couple of weeks a year then your work is done.

    Value for money? You can't buy the kind of smug that comes from doing the above.

    x x x


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