How to Remove Stains

No questions asked

Have you spilt blueberry juice on your antimacassar?  Honey on your briefcase?  De-icer on your cat?  Fear not – the solution to all your stain related woes lie herein.  If you can knock if over, spray it, or drip it from anything, onto anything, then it’s probably covered in here.  Let’s pick a couple of random examples:  what about melted rubber from a hot water bottle?  Easy, says page 51. Hold an absorbent pad below the mark and rub with liquid lighter fuel.  Launder as usual”.   How about a rain spot on a calf leather coat?  “Why, just wipe with a clean cloth and allow to dry naturally.”

It strikes me that one of the main audiences for this book must be serial killers, who very quickly turn to page 25 – the blood page.  Carpet?   “Flush out fresh stains with a squirt from a soda syphon”.  Here the book warns that “Professional cleaning may be necessary to remove dried stains”.  But you won’t want to do that in case they get suspicious, right? –  “Another nosebleed Mr Ripper?”  It also advises that blood stains on upholstery should be treated with an ammonia solution – although it doesn’t specify whether you can use the same ammonia solution which is currently dissolving your latest victim in the bath.  Other blood stains will require washing or dry cleaning – over and over and over again…

This book almost made me want to spray the contents of my kitchen and bathroom all over the flat just to test out all the various solutions.  I could have invited some friends round for a  ‘Stain Party’, where various stains are first created, and then – if there’s time – removed.  Almost, but not quite.  I decided to look up wee and poo instead…it seemed like the right thing to do.

The Drinking Man’s Diet

Brilliant book.  Old diet books can often be depressing, especially second hand ones with teeth marks in the margins and doodles of cupcakes in every blank space.  They’re often accompanied in the bags of donations we get by books about sumptuous French cuisine and Port, with the owner offering both up to charity presumably in order to give up food altogether.

This was a corker – clearly the author had neatly cornered the market in middle aged men who were willing to try anything – absolutely  anything –  to lose weight, as long as it wouldn’t interfere with their drinking.  The author offers early reassurance on the inside cover:

“Did you ever hear of a diet that was fun to follow? A diet which would let you have two martinis before lunch, a thick steak generously spread with Sauce Bearnaise,[…] A diet which allows you to take your favourite girl for a dinner of pheasant and broccoli, with Hollandaise Sauce and Chateau Lafite, to be followed by an evening of rapture and champagne?”  Ding dong!

You can almost hear the conversation in the London club which surely inspired the author:

Gentleman 1: “No thirds for me thanks chap – I’m trying to shed a few pounds”.

Gentleman 2: “Dangerous business this dieting, old bean.  Hope you’re not going to let it put you off the sauce.  Knew a chap once who started trying to ease back – stopped having a second martini at lunch, that sort of thing.  He wasted away to nothing in a matter of weeks.”

Gentleman 1: “How ghastly.  No, I certainly won’t let it affect my drinking.  Trouble is, how does a man about town such as myself set about getting into shape without compromising on rapture and champagne.”

Gentleman 2: “I don’t know George, but just remember – you are a Drinking Man, first and foremost”.

Perhaps there are a series – “The Smoking Man’s Workout”; “The Gambling Man’s Savings”?