Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

They journeyed from afar under an energy-sapping sun, parched and weary on arrival at their destination. The spent travellers odysseys made to congregate for a family feast among the east Leeds suburbs…… Well, they came from York and Wakefield anyway.

The christian resurrection commemorated with sacrificed lamb, the up-coming birthday of GJ Strachan marked with gifts of Viz annual, snack hamper and ‘Dr Ball’s Fresh Bollocks’ shower gel……. My Easter Sunday afternoon could perhaps be classed as an idiosyncratic example of cleanliness being next to godliness.

The latter a quirky early birthday gift from the returning prodigal son and his fiancée for yours truly. A bestowal offering it’s user a fragrant and soothing bollock balm, a gel that by self-claim is “an absolute joy to use.” A male grooming cosmetic that mercifully for the laboratory mammal population, and I imagine to the relief of research scientists, isn’t tested on animals.

I’m not party to the working practises of these labs, however should the decision be taken to amend the ‘Not Tested on Animals’ development strategy, I’d imagine testing Dr Ball’s quite specific cleansing product would pose untold logistical problems. Particularly if the recipients were diminutive, such as the usual guinea pigs, such as mice, rats and errrrrr…. well guinea pigs.

Incidentally, as the topic of the rights and wrongs of laboratory tests on animals is a prickly, potentially inflammatory, subject I’m not going to touch it with a barge pole. The aim of this narrative is to whimsically reflect on a quirkily named cosmetic accoutrement that isn’t tested on animals….. Or so it boasts on the wrapper.

If truth be told, I’m as disinclined to journal my thoughts on animal testing as I’d be to apply ‘Dr Ball’s Fresh Bollocks’ shower gel to a guinea pigs testicles…… Anyhow, I digress. Back to the subject of the Strachan family feast.


It was a great lift to have family around me yesterday, particularly after a feeling so lousy over the last fortnight after suffering a gastric hemorrhage severe enough to hospitalise me for three nights.

Having both my adult offspring (Jonny and Rachel) around me for the first time in over two years was especially gratifying. Yesterday being their first rendezvous with each other since April 2017, following Rachel’s forty eight month working break in Canada.

Apart from the affianced Jonny and Jenny, the guest list included my mum Maggie – A Leeds lass affable of nature, caring of demeanour and eccentric of comment. Although approaching 79 years of age, Mrs S senior can still be relied upon to contribute a whimsical anecdote or cutting repost to my mischievous putdowns.

The humourous septegenarian lady is always great value for an invite; consequently, it’s safe to say that you’ll never find Maggie Strachan in the kitchen at parties……. Actually, coming to think of it, you’ll never see her in the kitchen when it comes to washing the dishes either….. The lazy mare!

The party of six family members were made up by my wife Karen and yours truly. One of us organised, hard-working, erratic of joke quality, bearded and possesser of capricious moods. The other one Gary J Strachan.

Working as a team, Karen and me prepared a banquet fit for a king…… Well it would be monarch was fond of a meal of lamb and/or beef, a mixture of roasted and steamed veg with a meat juice infused gravy. If he’d rather have had a bucket full of Pot Noodles, then it could be justifiably argued it wasn’t at all fit for a king.

Anyhow, even if this fictitious Pot Noodle loving king wasn’t enamoured by the cuisine my spouse and me dished up, thankfully our family members were more appreciative. My conclusion evidenced by the fact six full plates were served, and thirty minutes later six cleared plates were returned into the kitchen.

That being said, the conclusion is a summisation on my part – This verdict only made by the sight of cleared plates. No other evidence was taken into account, which I’ll openly admit to being slipshod of me, leaving yours truly open to criticism that my notions are at best shaky and worst erm….. very, very shaky.

In all reality the guests may have found their Easter Sunday fare to be unappetising/flavourless/foul tasting/like eating horse manure (delete where applicable).

For all I know, the empty plates could’ve been a consequence of Jonny stuffing his pockets with meat and potatoes, along with Jenny lobbing her meal over the fence into the neighbours garden when Karen and me weren’t looking. Additionally, the reason my mother asked to borrow a sun hat halfway through lunch may’ve been to clandestinely hide her unappreciated main course…… The latter explanation would certainly go a long way to explaining why gravy was running from her hat post-lunch.

Coming to think of it, they probably didn’t appreciate Karen and my culinary efforts at all!……. That’s the last bloody time we invite those three around for a meal!!!




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