Tuesday 24 April 2012

U is for Useful v Useless


1. Potato peelers (the kind in the picture). I frequently throw these away with the peelings, but always replace them. They are the best. And the pointy bit at the end makes an excellent screwdriver for small domestic screwing jobs (now now).
2. Washing machines. For those who are too young ever to have had to hand-wash a pair of jeans, this may seem an odd choice. But trust me. The washing machine is the best thing since women got the vote.
3. Bees.
4. Selotape.
5. Kitchen towels (the paper ones).
6. My very elderly Ford Ka. It looks a sight, is covered with moss and full of straw and clutter - a cross between a teenager's bedroom and a stable - but it has never let me down. Titch hates it, and wants me to park it down the road away from the stable, because he says it shows him up in front of his friends.
7. Computers.
8. Jeans (but only if you have a washing machine. See above).


1. Personalised gear stick covers. In fact, anything personalised (this excludes name tapes for children).
2. Wasps.
3. The female condom. A paper bag would be of more use.
4. The contraption of pullies which promised me a flatter tummy and bottom if I could unravel it and get my feet and hands into the stirrups and do interesting exercises on the floor. I couldn't.
5. Small wooden trolleys to wheel your houseplants around the house (yes. There really are such things).
6. Me, trying to understand anything to do with computers (but I have to. See no.7 above).
7. Kiwi fruit.
8. Most of the items in those little bags of free cosmetics you sometimes get from Boots: bright orange lipstick, enough moisuriser to dampen one toe, a tiny pot of something shiny that could be for any part of your anatomy, and is usually blue. That kind of thing.


  1. Mmmmm.... Know what you mean. Useless for me would be any machine that doesn't work like it says on the tin! Hair straighteners I have never been able to use properly and thin paper hankies!

    1. Pat I totally agree about the hankies. I always buy the big soft men's ones ( for big soft men, of course).

  2. Yes, three cheers for whoever it was who invented the washing machine, the bed and hot showers! Oh, and chocolate. Although that last one may not be considered useful, its introduction was certainly one of mankind's star moments.

  3. I so agree about the washing-machine. I bless it every day. My mother did all the washing by hand and it took so much time and I was always waiting for my jeans and trying to stop her ironing a crease down the centre of each leg. And where would we be without Sellotape?

    Kiwi fruit is also very useless indeed.

    I don't liek tesco Value toilet paper. So much is needed and the rolls so small and thin that it's more economical to buy more expensive ones. We did use it for children to wrap each other up like Egyptian mummies at my daughter's party years ago. And it was actually adequate for that.

    I often wonder where I'd be without coffee, Marmite and long-lasting Max Factor lipstick. Also, photographs, books and blankets. And the gum-shield that stops me grinding my teeth at night.

    But I can live without apple-corers, shoes (boots only for me)and baby clams.

    1. Joanna, I too am a boots woman but I thought gum shields were for boxers and rugby players...?

  4. I can live without lobsters in my life, makes me sick when people boil them alive. Theyre okay in the sea, though, I suppose :)
    Toothpicks are pretty useful. So are dentists.

    1. Oh yes! Those tanks full of live, condemned lobsters....shudder!

  5. You're so right about bees and wasps.
    Now, let me see...
    Dogs are useful, but cats aren't useless, so scratch that idea.
    Chickens are useful, but songbirds aren't useless.
    Not much contribution from the western Canadian end of things, I'm afraid, Frances.

  6. I always found it difficult to sew the name tapes onto the children and the sticky ones came off when they had a bath.

    On behalf of everyone in New Zealand (all 4.5 million of us) I absolutely refute your assertion that the Kiwi fruit is useless. Apart from all the other uses ie food, they make a very ornamental (and vitamin C laden) topping for my cheesecakes. It also contributes about $1.75Billion to the NZ economy.

    1. Ok. I get the economy thing. But I still think kiwi fruit taste horrible!

  7. Enough cream to dampen a toe - oh Frances, you have such a way with words. As for Titch being embarrassed by your car, well of course he is with him being of noble birth bless him.
    I love kiwi fruit by the way - I slice the top off like a boiled egg and eat them with a spoon!

    1. Oh dear. Another kiwi fruit fan....But we can still be friends, can't we?