Have you ever seen this clip from Father of the Bride?
I remember howling with laughter at Steve Martin playing the man-at-the-end-of-his-rope character raging in a supermarket when this film came out around fifteen squillion years ago, without having the slightest inkling of an idea that one day I would turn in to this person. Because I can now stand up in a room full of strangers and declare it: I am this raging, Victor Meldrew screech queen who spends hours in supermarkets comparing brands AND ingredient lists, fuming about the cost of things like I’m a roadie for Rip Off Britain.
‘If this item is sugar free, why is it more expensive than the one with sugar?’
‘Why is every supermarket’s own brand bread cheaper than their bread flour? How are they doing this? Why are they doing this to me?!?’
‘Why is cream cheaper than butter when they’re essentially the same thing?’
And on that subject, there’s my husband’s absolute favourite (I’m lying):
‘Why does unsalted butter cost the same as salted? They took out the salt!’
I’ve been making my own butter recently in order to, ahem, ‘beat the bastards.’ In my house we call it Angry Butter. And we have Angry Yoghurt too, as well as Very Pissed Off Bread, which I bake knowing everyone else in the house hates my homemade version anyway. I get that idea from the snuck into the breadbin loaves of Warburtons I keep finding (one pound ten, I ask you!) alongside the still untouched fresh loaf I produced with my own loving hands (breadmaker) two days ago.
Oh the joys of perimenopause! Everyone in my immediate family has had to learn how to humour me carefully and with absolute military precision because my oestrogen is on the happy plane out of here, taking my patience and sanity hostage as it goes.
I used to be so cheerful strangers would come up to me as I stood waiting for a bus in the freezing rain, munching on a bit of chocolate cake and grinning like I’d won the lottery, and beg me for my weed brownie recipe. These people just couldn’t understand how much I loved chocolate back then – before my bum started storing it for the chocpocalypse.
And may I just say, I don’t want to pay £1.45 for four tiny pots of bio yoghurt! Yoghurt contains full cream milk and a few live cultures you can get from adding three tablespoons of shop bought live yoghurt to it. That is it. After that first tub, you never have to buy any again as you can use three tablespoons of your last batch and – the best news of all – you can make it in a simple thermos flask. Milk costs around 45p a pint. Yoghurt… (Does a quick calculation, remembers she’s crap at those) doesn’t.
This new, bitter, ranty and outspoken me has had to pull back from social media a little too. I happened upon a woman who had posted a photo of her backside in her Twitter feed today. She was wearing a skimpy thong and had posted it with the message, ‘Dreams don’t work unless you do.’ It took all that I had not to reply, ‘I don’t know about you, but my dreams don’t involve showing everyone my arse.’
Everybody, and I mean everybody, better keep me away from the Facebook page reviews section for Dyson. Having purchased their V6 Animal vacuum cleaner last year only to find it a) can’t clean up pet hair and b) can’t be emptied without covering yourself in everything you just hoovered up, an email war has been raging away between us. Two replaced cleaner heads, two filters and three entirely new vacuums later they are still laughing in the face of my threats to post YouTube videos of the thing being pushed fourteen times over the same bit of dog hair until I eventually give in and pick the stuff up with my hands by not giving me my effing money back. Don’t get me started on my nearest bakery who I made a twenty-six mile round trip to for a special, pre-ordered loaf only to find they had none left. Twice.
Is it me or is it them, I ask you? What have I become?
I’m completely with you, Victor. I don’t believe it either. I actually think that the online review system might have been waiting for me to reach this stage of my life. ‘Hello, I’m Mrs Very Bloody Angry and I want to tell everyone on Facebook that your peppermint teabags have NO pepper in them, whatsoever.’
But there are advantages to being don’t-give-a-fuck years old. For the first time in a zillion years, I switched from olive oil (£3.95 a litre) to the equally healthy rapeseed oil (£2.00 a litre). I’m thinking about what’s in our food, what we are spending and how we can reduce that spend; and we’re all healthier because of it. We’re also well on the way to looking after those pennies so the pounds can look after themselves. If I see any stray pennies on the floor I’m no longer ashamed of looking like a pauper. I pick them up, thank the universe for the money and remember that Tesco charges you 5% for converting your change into vouchers you can shop with. Then I get angry again, but you see my point.
You need to agitate cream in order to turn it into butter, and by that I don’t mean ripping its lid off, waving it at the cat’s mouth and shouting, ‘churn or you’re going in.’ And you need to agitate a woman to make her see the world for what it is, then become determined enough to try to change it. I’m intent on doing that, one batch of homemade yoghurt at a time.