SINCE tying the knot with the lovely Mrs R I have found myself becoming a somewhat mellow being. These days I am prepared to take things in my stride and the number of Rippers rants has reduced dramatically. Of course, that may also be because I have escaped the misery that is Meeja Wales.
Alas, it was obviously too good to be true and I have found something today that has made my blood boil.
Having sung its praises last week I must admit I am not best pleased with my new exclusive health club. When I signed away my vast fortune for membership it was following gym salesman Tom's confident assurance that the swimming pool was barely used during week days.
And though it was pretty expensive my reluctance to part with my hard earned was counterbalanced by the fact I would rarely encounter the general public as I resumed my fitness drive.
Last week I was a little bit disappointed to find a few whippersnappers hogging the lanes but then I remembered it was half term and was prepared to let it pass.
After all, high-flying executives have kids too and must find things for them to do while on their school hols.
However, imagine my consternation when I slipped on my trunks and entered the pool area today to find it inundated with old wrinklies splashing about like salmon in a Pitlochrie Fish farm.
They were being led from the side by a super-keen fitness freak with one of those microphones strapped to her face like one of those sci-fi half-man, half-robot creatures you tend to see in films like The Terminator.
In short, the majority of the pool had been given over to a session of aqua-aerobics.
Now, fair enough if this was some council-owned £3 a session leisure centre in Little Gumption, but in my personal private money-grabbing health spa? Certainly not.
My god, why not just cut out the middle man and fill the pool with embalming fluid? And surely they could get just as much fun splashing about in their geriatric baths at home?
Some of them were even wearing socks to help their circulation, poor dears (perhaps the Western Snail should run classes to help with their poor circulation - boom boom).
So while us serious swimmers were left beating about in two thin lanes resembling a shark feeding frenzy, the wrinklies were taking up far too much of the pool for the limited use they were getting out of it. Aargh, I feel a complaint coming on and a refund of the Membership Fee.
All is not well in the Fat Kid household. Waking up at her boyfriend's the other day she discovered a fishnet stocking lying about among his fishing gear. There was a full scale inquiry followed by the mother of all rows. Said boyfriend denies any knowledge of where the stocking came from. This one could run and run.
Last night I rustled up a quick Coq au Vin from the recipe book that Mrs R's dad Andrew got me for Christmas.
Four chicken thigh joints
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a large knob of butter and some cooking oil
three rashers of bacon, chopped up
half a dozen mushrooms, sliced
A medium sized onion (or 12 small onions, as the recipe dictates)
Half a glass of red wine
An ounce of flour
Salt and pepper
1/4 pint of stock (I used vegetable stock, then added one of those new stockpots that Marco Pierre White advertises)
A handful of parsley
rub the garlic and about half a tea spoon of salt over the chicken pieces.
Melt the butter and oil in a frying pan.
Fry the chicken until it is golden brown on both sides (particularly the skin) then put into a casserole dish.
stir the flour into the frying pan, then add the wine and stir it in.
When it boils and thickens add this to the casserole.
Fry the bacon in the remainder of the juices in the frying pan until it starts to cook
Add this to the casserole together with the stock, mushrooms, onions and salt and pepper.
Put a lid on casserole and put into the oven on gas mark 4 (180 degrees) for just over an hour.
Add the parsley near the end.
Serve with a generous portion of creamy mashed potato.