Farmhouse Vacation Memories: "There's a cat in my pork scratchings"

Sent to RHU from Techtyger:

From Peter Morwood Tumblr:

This Is A True Story. I Have Witnesses.

Way back in 1987, the year @dduane and I got married, Worldcon was in Brighton. After the con, we rented a farmhouse - “Cold Comfort Farm”, yes, really - so various people in the US who were now over in England for the con could add it to their holiday.

That meant lots of touristy stuff, and since the farmhouse was close to Alcester in Warwickshire, there were places like Stratford-on-Avon, Oxfordshire’s Cotswold villages, and of course numerous picturesque rural pubs, well within easy reach.

One of those pubs was The Falkland Arms in Great Tew…

(It’s just beyond the small dark patch of trees at the end of the lane, but is now a private residence so this is the best I could find.)(not visible: customers and / or cat.)

…and we rolled up on a beautiful late-summer afternoon then set to enjoying the facilities with much enthusiasm. 

Back then (though probably no longer) they used to sell a clay pipe and a fill from several choices of baccy, to be smoked out in the beer garden. I nabbed one and a box of matches, but the main thing to catch my attention besides the beer was Pork Scratchings.

(Yum yum nom nom munch crunch scrunch scranch, absolutely deafening like the Brigade of Guards drilling on gravel, I can’t hear what you’re saying…)

Crisps are fine, especially oddly-flavoured ones (I still miss Really Ruthless Crisps, which were before their time) and US pork rinds are good too but a bit fluffy and wimpy by comparison to Scratchings, which are as the packaging warns a snack for grown-ups with sound teeth.

I qualified on all counts, so took the tray of drinks and a packet of Scratchings out to where everyone was waiting. Eventually I got around to opening the packet, looked away for a moment, looked back – and there was a cat in it, just like the OP photo, with ears back and face right down inside the pack, munching away like a horse with a feed-bag. 

(Unlike this cat, she at least waited for them to be cooked.)

“There’s a cat in my Pork Scratchings,” I said to the world in general, which was unimpressed. 

“Maybe it’s the free gift,” said a not-helpful person. “Looks more like it’s taking than giving,” said another, showing great powers of observation. “Complain to the management before everybody wants one,” said a third. So I laid the already-somewhat-lighter bag of Scratchings down on the bench – the cat didn’t miss a beat – and ambled back into the pub.

“There’s a cat in my Pork Scratchings,” I told the barman. He looked over my shoulder out into the beer garden, then nodded.

“Oh aye,” he said. “That’s Misty, sir. She’ll do that.” 

(This is Purdy of “The Gunmakers” in Marylebone, London; you get my drift.)

I’d read the back of the Pork Scratching packet, and taken note that it contained Scratchings made of Pork and that Sound Teeth Were Required. But nowhere, even in the smallest of small print down by the e-numbers and preservatives, did it say “May Contain Cats”.

“Um. Right. So what do I do about it?”

“Well, sir, you buy three more bags of Pork Scratchings…”

“Now why would I want to do that?” Despite the fact that I liked Pork Scratchings a lot, I had a feeling I was being railroaded just a bit.

(Here’s one of the 15-strong guest liaison team at “The Bag o’Nails”, Bristol.)

“Because, sir,” explained the barman with great patience, “by the time you get back to your seat Misty will have finished the bag she’s in, and she’ll be into the next one as soon as you open it. So you open the bag after that and enjoy your Scratchings—“

“—Until she’s ready to help me with them as well, yes?”

“Yes indeed, sir. But by the time she’s done there she’ll have reached her capacity, and you can have (ta-daa! He didn’t say it, but I could hear it) The Last Bag All To Yourself!” I gave him a long hard look.

“You and Misty have shares in the Pork Scratching company, don’t you?” I said. 

(Not visible - stock certificate signed with paw-print.)

“I really couldn’t say, sir. So that’s three bags, is it?”

“Oh, all right then. And a pint of Wadworth’s Weasel Widdle while you’re at it.”

When I got back to the beer garden, things played out so exactly as he described that I’m still convinced it was some sort of scam, but I’ve never managed to work out how Misty the cat persuaded the barman to play along…

read more on Peter Morwood




Bad Retail Slaves: Too High To Find You


Carolanne ugh reallyFrom JohnnyHighGround , AskReddit

This was the only time I ever attempted a cross-country flight and return in the same day. I arrive at O'Hare at some ungodly early hour, only to discover my flight is departing from the C terminal. To get to C you have to go through this long, long, long underground tunnel...which is lit by eerie colored lights projected through glass block on the walls, and neon lights sort of strobing in the ceiling in different colors. And Rhapsody in Blue plays in this sort of eerie new-agey arrangement the whole time. At 4:00ish in the morning, that is some fucked up shit, lemme tell you.

But fine, I get my flight, I fly to San Francisco, I have my meeting, I come home. It is now probably 2:00am; I have been awake close to 24 hours. I walk back through Rhapsody in Blue to my car... which won't start.


Fortunately, I have AAA. So I trudge down to the parking garage office and call them. They ask me where I am. I say I'm at O'Hare airport.

AAA Agent: "What's the address there?"

Me: "...Seriously? It's O'Hare Airport. It's the busiest airport in the world."

AAA Agent: "I'm going to need an address."

I turn to the parking attendants. "What's the address here?"

Parking Attendant: "...It's the airport."

"Right." I tell AAA, "It's the airport. Maybe try 1 O'Hare Drive?"

AAA Agent: "...OK, we'll have a tow truck out to meet you in 10 minutes. Where are you?"

Me: "Parking Garage 2."

AAA Agent: "Can you be more specific?"

Me: "Right, sorry, I'm on the fifth level."

AAA Agent: "Can you be more specific?"

Me: " car is in aisle 20?"

Bad retail slavesAAA Agent: "Can you be more specific?"

Me: "Ah. Buh. Uh?"

AAA Agent: "We need to be able to tell our driver where to go."

Me: "...Fine. I'm in the second spot from the south end of aisle 20, on the west side of the aisle."

This is what she said next, and I swear this is true: "Can you be more specific?"

Me: "...No. No, I really can't."

It was at this time that, and I swear this is also true, I started running through the exercises I learned in high school when I was trying to learn how to lucid dream, to determine whether you're dreaming or not: looking at my hands, checking the clock repeatedly, the whole deal.

Finally: "OK, the tow truck should be there in about 15 minutes!" And she hangs up.

Great. So I chill with the parking attendants, who are practically in hysterics at this point, for about 10 minutes, then head out into the sleet to wait by my car. Soon, I see a tow truck pulling into the parking garage.

And he comes up to level 5, immediately heads back down, turns around, and leaves.

It is probably at least 3:00 in the morning at this point. I walk back to the office (this was before cell phones were in wide use) and call AAA again.

Me: "Yeah, I just called a little bit ago for a tow, and I just saw what I'm pretty sure was your driver come by and immediately leave."

Carolanne facepalm"I'm sorry, sir. He radioed in and said he wasn't positive exactly where you were." I am pretty sure my head was on fire at this point. "Can you verify your location?"

Me: "O'Hare Airport. Parking garage 2. Level 5. Aisle 20. Second from the end on the southwest end of the aisle."

AAA Agent: "OK, thanks, we'll send him back."

I trudge back to my car. In moments the tow truck returns. And, I shit you not, he once again drives up to level 5, immediately heads back down, turns around, and leaves.

I run back to the office. The attendants are no longer laughing; their faces wear expressions ranging from extreme pity to horror. I grab a phone and call AAA again. "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?"

AAA Agent: "Excuse me?"

Me: "WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. GOING. ON. This is the third time I've called you--"

AAA Agent: "Sir--"

Me: "And I am stranded at the airport--"

AAA Agent: "Sir--"

Me: "And your FUCKING tow FUCKING truck FUCKING driver keeps driving past me and leaving!"

AAA Agent: "Sir! I'm sorry, but can you tell me where you are?"

Me: "O'Hare Airport, on level 5 of parking garage 2."

AAA Agent: "...Can you be more specific?"


AAA Agent: "Sir, if you're going to keep using that language--"

Me: "Sorry, sorry. I'm tired, it's late. I'm in aisle 20, near the south end. Please don't ask me to be more specific."

AAA Agent: "OK, I'll make sure the driver knows where you are."

Carolanne StrangleMe: "I... fine."

So, yes, I went back out to my car. And the driver came back. And this time I turned on my car lights and jumped up and down in front of them, waving my arms. And he stopped, thank jeebus, he stopped. And got out of his truck... Reeking of pot. "Sorry, dude. They weren't real specific about where you were."

He pulled my car up on the lift, failing to secure the straps around the tires so that I had to utter a prayer every time we went over railroad tracks, but he got me and my car home.

I canceled my AAA membership the next day.

And the kicker? My car wouldn't start because the exterior of the spark-box (or whatever) was dirty. A mechanical friend came by and diagnosed the issue. He wiped it down with an old sock. It started instantly from then until the day I traded it to Carmax.



Retail Balls Awards: Hotel Shitface Or Hotel Yummy Depends On How You Behave!


Balls award1

From Rhiannon

My parents and I once got stranded in Belgium because it was snowing so hard that you couldn't see more than a few feet in front of you.

My mum joined the queue at a help desk, and when she got to the front, my mum was very polite and told her not to worry because it wasn't as if she could control the weather. A lot of other customers had been shouting at the poor girl like it was her fault it was snowing.

We were given the name and address of a hotel close by, and went off on our merry way. But while Mom had been in line, my dad and I had been sat close enough to the help desk to overhear people. We realised that everyone who was a complete bell-end was told to go to Hotel Shitface and everyone who was nice was told Hotel Yummy.

A couple of hours later, we were in the gift shoppy bit at Hotel Yummy and overheard the man behind the desk say to his coworker, "Yeah, the Help Desk at the airport have been sending all the assholes over to Hotel Shitface again, and I'm fairly certain they know Hotel Shitface is full already!"

I almost laughed myself sick!



Random Acts Of Retail Kindness: Helping Out On Flights Has A Tasty Reward


Retail kindnessFrom DB Cooper

I do a lot of traveling for my job. On a recent outbound flight, the business cabin was left in a shambles.

Back in coach, the flight attendant was amazed that I spent a few moments on landing to find the napkins I dropped at some point during the flight.

I told her that I do not treat my friends homes like a trash dump, so I will not treat the airplane the same way.

On the return flight, there had been some trouble; several idiots had oversized bags and were having trouble securing them in the overhead bins. For whatever reason, the plane was preparing to depart (staying on schedule probably) with these bags unsecured. Since I was tall, I went up and down the plane, shoving the oversized bags into the overhead bins (this is while the plane is taxiing, mind you). Nobody gave me grief for standing.

At the first meal service (10 hour flights are tough), the flight attendant brought an 'extra' business class meal back for me. She said it was in my boarding instructions that I should get one. She said the crew from the first flight really appreciated my attitude, and the people on this flight appreciated my help in handling the bags.

So… be nice and you have no idea what good things can come from it... Like garlic roasted prawns! *drool*

--DB Cooper