The Heat is on

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Time to cool off

Dom is a qualified ski instructor. This means we do a lot of skiing. Every local Spice group organised a ski trip for their regional members and on top of that Dom would host 2-3 of the many national ski trips organised by Spice UK. We ski mostly in Europe, with St Anton in Austria being one of our favourite resorts.

In those days, ski companies employed ski hosts to guide groups around the mountain, and having no sense of direction I was happy to follow one of these hosts around all day long. Dom was then free to ski with the different levels of skiers; one day he may be out with the racey reds, the next he might be with the cruisey blues or the beginners. Every day he would organise a lunch stop accessible to all the different levels so friends could meet up with those in lessons, or change groups for a tougher / easier afternoon’s skiing.

On one particular day we met up at the designated venue, but Dom’s group was late. He’d hooked up with the roughtie-toughtie group and they were all having so much fun they’d lost track of time. His usual form of greeting on these occasions was to ask what everyone had eaten, allowing him to make a snap decision and order quickly.  The Mark Warner rep told him the house speciality was an authentic Austrian stew, which suited Dom perfectly and he placed his order.

The food arrived promptly and the table fell silent as the latecomers hungrily devoured their meals. Dom’s stew was served in a rustic tureen with a basket of bread and a small dish of grated cheese. With the type of hunger you only encounter when you’ve been out in the snowy mountains all morning, he piled the cheese on top of his stew and heartily tucked in. What followed next was an astonished gasp of surprise, a lot of distress and some very bad language.

“What on earth is that?” He cried, tears streaming down his face.

“Horseradish” replied the Mark Warner rep.

“I thought it was grated cheese!” exclaimed Dom, becoming ever more uncomfortable. At this point I’m convinced he had steam coming out of his ears.

“I thought you were hard-core, putting the whole amount in!” replied the rep, trying not to laugh.

Dom then proceeded to scoop out the offending vegetable, but it was in vain; the offensive additive had permeated through to all the delicious layers below and his meal was ruined. Luckily he had some bread left and his fellow skiers offered up an assortment of chocolate and snack bars to keep him going, but all he could taste for the rest of the day was the foul horseradish.

I guess the moral of this story is; don’t put anything in your mouth that you might live to regret.




Burning Down the House

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The heat is on

We’d spent a cold winter’s day outside bearing the brunt of the elements and were chilled to the bone. We needed a plan of action to keep our spirits up; as soon as we got home, I’d rustle up some warming pasta and Dom would make a fire. One of life’s simple pleasures is to cosy up in front of a real fire whilst the temperature outside plummets and we were both looking forward to a night off from our Spice duties.

Stopping off at the local supermarket, we stocked up with all the goodies needed for a temporary shut-in and an evening of mindless TV lay before us. So far, so good. Dom had finished his meal, but I was still only half-way through mine. This is never a good sign. As they say, the devil makes work for idle hands. The fire was warming us up nicely when Dom fed it with the remnants of a large burnt-out candle. We’d put spent tea-lights on the fire before without incident, but this was different. The fire blew upwards and outwards like a giant fireball, how it remained in the fireplace still mystifies me. A deafening whooshing sound filled the room, similar to Concorde ripping through the skies. I was up on my feet, stamping out any sparks that escaped onto the exposed wooden floorboards whilst Dom rushed outside. Sparks were flying out of the chimney and all the internal walls were red-hot.

“Grab any valuables and get out of the house!” he screamed, grabbing the phone to call the emergency services.

“Emergency, which service do you require?”

“Fire service – I’ve set fire to the chimney!”

“Do you live in a thatched roof or a tiled roof house, sir?”

This simplest of questions confused the hell out of Dom.

“I don’t know!”

Luckily, we live in a tiled roof house, but as to why he couldn’t recall this basic piece of information still baffles me. Now our little house isn’t the easiest to find in the pitch black, so I spent the next twenty minutes waiting outside in the freezing, driving rain, waiting to flag down the fire engine and direct the firemen to our house. Calmly and quickly they extinguished the fire, gave us a talk on the perils of fire abuse and disappeared into the cold winter’s night.

When we re-told this experience to our Spice members, their reactions fell into two categories:

  1. “At least you’re okay / hope there was no lasting damage”
  2. “Did you sign any of them up!”

Hopefully not too many women can say they spent a Saturday night with a group of firemen in their lounge, unless it’s under very different circumstances.


Photo by Nanna Moilanen on Unsplash

All Grown Up

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Act your age, not your shoe size

Ah, the spellchecker. A godsend for millions of people, but not quite so user-friendly if you’re dyslexic. It has a nasty habit of changing words which can completely alter the tone and/or meaning of a text or email. One such clanger occurred when Michelle, our Berkshire Assistant Coordinator returned from maternity leave. Dom contacted our service provider to reinstate her email account:

Hi Mark, Michelle is returning from Maturity leave so I need to get her profile re-set up.



Photo by Lapina on Shutterstock

Do Not Oven Cook

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Should have gone to Specsavers

We’d had one of those busy days when all we wanted to do was enjoy an easy meal and relax in front of the TV. So Dom heads to the freezer to see what he can rustle up.

“Fish and chips okay?” He asks.

“Perfect.” I reply.

Thirty seconds later and doing his best Victor Meldrew impersonation, Dom shouts out “I don’t believe it!” This is followed by much moaning and grumbling until he storms into the lounge. “What does it say on this packet?” He demands, holding up an unopened packet of McCain’s Oven Chips.

“Oven Chips?” I reply, rather taken aback.

“Precisely! So why the hell does the cooking instructions state ‘DO NOT OVEN COOK?’” he yelled. Well, I was as mystified as he was as to why you couldn’t cook said Oven Chips in the oven.

Then the full tirade began. “This product is totally misleading. I’m posting them back to McCain’s to tell them just what I think of their product.” This was followed by a brief discussion as to whether we had an envelope big enough to send said chips back to the manufacturer, and to whether their Consumer Care department was manned at that time of night to answer his complaint.

I sat calmly, waiting for the ranting to subside, and asked to see the bag. After all, we’d been using the same product for years, so if they had changed their cooking instructions, it must have been a very recent change. Then it all became clear;

‘Do not OVER cook.’

We were both helpless with laughter and that simple meal has never taken so long to eat as that night, with both of us trying and failing to stifle our giggles in between each mouthful.

Rib Tickler

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There’s a 6 pack in there somewhere

At the time of writing, Dom is training to climb Mount Everest. (There’ll be more about his progress in later blogs).

You could say Dom is a bit of a sports fanatic. He has to be, as training is extremely hard for this challenge of a lifetime. He rows five times a week, plays indoor hockey twice a week, has just started playing underwater hockey to help his anaerobic fitness, and tries to convince me that a weekly round of golf also helps with his training. His biggest commitment is walking five days a week, for up to two hours, carrying a 25kg rucksack.

As photos on this blog will testify, we’ve both had some fluctuating weight issues over the years, so he was tickled pink to see so much training having a positive effect on his physique.

“I’m getting so fit, I’m looking ribbed.”

“I think you mean ‘ripped’, dear” I replied.


Full of Peppery Goodness

“They’re full of peppery goodness, and very small and neat…”

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There’s a tune in there somewhere

Dom didn’t have to continue with the rest of the song, I knew it off by heart. It was the theme tune to the ‘A Finger of Fudge’ commercial which aired in the UK in the 1970s and ’80s.

On challenging him as to the supposed peppery content of this favourite childhood confection, he was unflinching. No matter how often I tried to convince him that “They’re full of Cadbury goodness” he refused to be swayed. To this day he maintains it must contain pepper and it’s one of many mis-heard song lyrics he has in his repertoire.

Welcome to Planet Dom

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This blog is dedicated to my beloved partner, Dominic Renshaw.

Now, Dom is delightfully old-fashioned in an odd-ball kind of way. He’s also dyslexic.

Whilst this can, at times, cause him utter bewilderment and confusion, it often gives those around him a chance to celebrate his wonderful sense of humour and love of life. I decided I needed a place to capture all these precious moments, and my blog was born.

Here are some of the many ways he’s confounded and delighted us over the years.