Tuesday, 11 December 2007


The partner of any scrapbooker who has been scrapping a while will already know WHAT NOT TO TOUCH.

However it would be more helpful if from time to time the household scrapper could refresh the memory of the partner as to specific boundaries. Little scissor things I notice, are particularly valued. Misuse of these leads to certain pain for the scrapbook widower.

Lately Mrs Grendel has been the beneficiary of a larger scrapping room, an iPod and Speakers to scrap along to tunes with, a refurbished desk to use as a standing desk and a new hard drive for storage of photos.

Shortly I’ll also be trying to buy her a station wagon to make it easier to transport those big plastic crates that seem to be essential for toting scrapping stuff.

When all is said and done, Mrs Grendel’s scrapping environment will have improved considerably in 2007. She did most of the work herself mind you so I can’t complain.

However, I think I’d like a pair of scissors of my own now.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Hobby Disasters

This morning my Faema Family espresso machine was not working. This happens with old machines from time to time and as soon as I can buy the parts I'll have it working again. It's pretty hard starting the day without that nice rich shot of Yemen, or Harrar, or whatever it is I have roasted each week.

Mrs Grendel on the other hand has no such problem with her hobby - it seems that the scrapping tools serve multiple purposes and looking around the room right now I am trying to see if there is anything with which she could not do without - in the short term.

Are there any scrapping essentials without which the scrapping hobby is brought to a total and complete grinding halt?

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The Looming Dangers of Christmas

As a coffee snob I see Christmas as a time of great peril.

As the scrapbook widower I face dual perils - but I'll address the slightly less perilous perils of coffeesnobbery first.

Its not that our favourite cafes all close through the Christmas/New Year period – after all, our home setup can usually manage the provision of caffeination essentials.

Its not that warmer whether affects our coffee drinking – we just move to short macs, ristrettos and espresso and add affogato and iced coffee to the daily menu.

The danger comes from gifts.

Yes, well-meaning friends and relatives, aware that we are ‘keen’ on coffee, seek out the kind of gift that is charmingly rendered into small baskets, or accompanied by antique styled hand grinders (NOT Zassenhaus!) and always, or almost always, accompanied by a bag of ‘100% arabica’ coffee beans that were roasted some time in 2006 and have an implausible Best Before date some time in the next decade.

It is of course quite different when a close family member or partner who has carefully consulted with you over the course of the year presents you with exactly the item you identified as desirable. And likewise when a fellow coffee snob gifts you with a festively decorated bag of your favourite Single Origin it is indeed a moment of joy.

But beware the aunt or uncle who feels it necessary to foist the ‘Best Italian’ roasted bean upon you, or that packet of pre-ground PNG coffee they got at the airport in Port Moresby.

The best you can do is smile graciously and accept the gift in the spirit which it was given while you sob on the inside for the tragedy of the beans so cruelly treated.

I write this with an open catalogue beside me, a catalogue that fills me with dread. 10% of the entire glossy tome is devoted to Christmas coffee hampers – all filled with coffee of a brand who’s name sounds like that state South of NSW. . .

However, as a coffee snob and the husband of a scrapbooker there is one much much more perilously perilous peril.

Buying scrapping presents.

In short answer, having trod this minefield and lost limbs in earlier years, my firm recommendation to other scrapbook widowers is - DON'T.

Unless you really really know what she wants, and she has given you explicit guidance on the object to buy and the store to buy it from (this seems to be oddly important for scrappolitical reasons) you are much better off just giving her cash.

Or a new credit card if you are feeling daring.