On Hiatus

On Hiatus

The Reluctant Ranter is currently on a break due to too many things going on, but will be back with more rants in the near future… Thanks to all for reading!


It’s no longer scrimping when it’s scraping…


I’m all on for saving money and getting good value. My friends know me for being frugal which can sometimes border on tight, but even I wouldn’t sink to the depths of some of the ‘scrimpers’ on Superscrimpers.

A few series ago I used to enjoy it. There were beauty treatments that only required the raiding of a cupboard and cleaning tips that meant you didn’t have to spend a fortune on branded limescale remover or pass out under the toxic fumes of Mr Muscle oven cleaner. But now they have just lost it.

Last week it was make your own chutney. Fair enough it looked nice and it was using fruit that would otherwise have been thrown out, but the ingredients needed to make it taste good cost more than buying a buying a jar of it from Tesco. Star anise and cinnamon sticks are not spices that are just languishing around your spice rack (at least they are not in my house). After chucking all these ingredients in to spice up the humble apple, she then proceeded to explain how it needed to be left to cook for an hour. An hour to make some spicy apple paste? I mean, who has the time?

Sewing machine

Now I don’t have a sewing bone in my body. My attempts to knit scarves have ended up with long pieces of wool that would be more at home on the back of a pantomime donkey. Plus there are always so many holes in these attempts that even a homeless person in the height of winter would throw it back in my face. So I admire these ‘scrimpers’ with their sewing machines that can transform something pretty crap into something wearable.

That is until a picture frame was brought out. She held it up to the camera and proclaimed how it shouldn’t be wasted and a few simple steps would transform this useless item into something amazing. So I watched as she took a piece of material and wrapped it around the frame. Was this some sort of new felt art or a modern art movement I had missed that didn’t require vinegar? She wrapped and then stapled. Rubbing it proudly she attached something to it and held it up to the screen.

“Now there you have it, your own customised earring holder.”

I’m sorry…what? I mean who the hell needs an earring holder? Is there some unknown crisis in the jewellery world where earrings are regularly bent or broken due to the lack of an earring holder? Are ears crying out for this measure and we just don’t know about it? I don’t even know what the next segment was, as my mind was still trying to figure out how and why this poor picture frame had been subjected to this sorry role. I know it doesn’t have actual feelings, but how would you feel if someone stapled a blanket to you and hung feathers and metal off you for eternity? It’s just wrong.

Last night there was how to dress your table for a party. Now I don’t know about you, but if they manage to get cutlery I’m doing well. But this ‘scrimper’ seemed to think this was something a huge proportion of the population are or at least should be doing. All that was needed to achieve this cost-free creation were cotton reels and some wire. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I have ever managed to get to the end of a reel in my life so have no idea what kind of things she’s sewing to achieve this. Perhaps questions should be asked in case she is in the midst of a Silence of the Lambs-like project.

Anyway after folding and winding the wire it was threaded through the middle of the reel and then a piece of paper with a name was stuck into it. This creation just seems to be etiquette gone mad and despite it looking pretty I don’t think I’d like to go over to a friend’s house for some dinner and be told where to sit. I’m not at a wedding after all. If that’s not a control-freak in action I don’t know what is.


But the thing that amuses and annoys me is not being able to get through an episode without a lemon appearing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wheel being fixed, somewhere in the background a lemon will appear. It’s the God for all scrimpers, the Achilles heel if you like. If they are not within inches of a lemon at all times then its game over and they turn into insane overspenders that blow all their savings on a timeshare on Mars. Not only are the obsessed with the lemon, but also the gauze that it comes in which has been lauded as a replacement scourer. Seriously guys it’s a scourer. I’ll lend you the 8o cent for a whole pack of them  in Lidl.

Vending machines are evolving and that’s no eggs-aggeration…

This week the world seems to have gone mad. Between a spate of toddler rapes in India alongside a convicted murderer, who then went through another trial only to be released, and has now ‘written’ a tell-all autobiography, the earth seems to have been turned upside down and shaken like a snow globe.

Perhaps I am just getting older or more jaded, but this week I am deciding to opt out of the horror and instead focus on the whimsical. In this instance  – an egg vending machine. You heard me right, across Ireland there are machines popping up, touting eggs with the frequency of Jedward in pantos.

Egg vending machine and hen

Seeing that vending machines have traditionally been used to sell over-priced Haribos and bottles of water, I wonder how someone made the leap to the humble but delicious egg. Was there a meeting at a farmers mart or a conference at a coop that brought this idea to the fore? Was there a conversation between a vendor salesman/woman and a farmer that went like this:

“You ever thought of trying to sell them in trays?”

“They are sold in trays.”

“Yeah, but I mean in a vending machine. Put a reasonable price on them, place them outside supermarkets and petrol stations and see what happens.”

Pause for a chew on a long piece of straw (because that’s what all farmers do don’t they?)

“So it would be a tray within a tray?”

“Exactly, 30 eggs on a tray delivered from a tray. It’s like slots of heaven for protein lovers.”

So the first one started and then it seems to have caught on; a virus for the egg world. Although saying that I have never seen one and am now going to go on a  hunt across Dublin to find one. It will be an egg hunt of a different kind without the bunnies and chocolate.

Egg vending machine

This strange new relationship between eggs and vending machines has got my mind a whirring – what other unlikely things should you ‘in a universe of anything is possible’ be able to find in a vending machine? These are my top 8:

1) Babies – Do all women really need to go through the pregnancy thing? Can fertile women not not have as many babies as they want and then put them up for sale? I mean its straight forward and transparent. They could come with certificates like the Cabbage Patch dolls did years ago with a brief synopsis of their interests such as badminton or caber tossing. I mean really its only the end result of  an egg so it has be be alright, right?

2) Drugs – I’m not talking the stick it in your arm and then remove yourself from the world type, but the milder more sedative type. Prescription drugs should also be in on that. No more disapproving looks from the chemist when all you want is a Neurofen to stop your tooth from shooting out of your mouth like a rocket. No more forced responses of “No I am not operating any heavy machinery this evening”. Marijuana would probably be the most popular choice and like the coffee shops in Amsterdam, you can choose the strength and get them already rolled in a spliff that rivals the Spire.


3) A Pedicure – When your feet are just aching from trekking around the place or a night out trying to walk in heels that “really don’t hurt” there is a machine with a pull out stool that you can stick you tired feet into. I don’t care if it’s fish down there, a pair of unknown hands or puppies caught out in a violent lick, I want it.

4) Politicians – As part of their contract, politicians should be obliged to spend one day a month in a vending machine. Based on a voting system some may be in there every month and others barely once a year. People should be able to pay for questions that are posed via a speaker and any political speak response will be punished with a sharp electric shock that makes the machine shudder. If that’s not democracy in action I don’t know what is.

Cartoon politician

5a) Falafels – for no other reason then I love them and would like to have access to the fabulous chickpea balls at all hours of the day. Along with the salad and garlic sauce of course.

5b) In line with the food idea the ingredients to a full Irish fry up in one handy pack would go a long way to making my mornings a veritable wonder.

5c) A picnic basket for those days when you just want to laze in the park and take in the sun. It should consist of deli products alongside a nice bottle of wine, blanket and all the necessary picnic utensils. A fly swatter could also be included for those time when midgies just won’t quit.

6)  Umbrellas – When you live in a country that only knows how to rain, a machine that spits out umbrellas would be a life saver. I cannot count how many umbrellas I have either lost, left on public transport or thrown into a bin in anger after a gust of wind turned the damn thing inside out. You can never have too many umbrellas.

7) Dinosaurs – Yes I know they are extinct, but how cool would it be to have a T-Rex displayed in a vending machine? His small hands waving and huge array of teeth gnashing. Of course I don’t actually know of any metal, plastic, glass or element known to man that could actually contain a dinosaur, but it’s still on my list.

T-Rex image

8)  Robots – this has be robots that do things, like a perfect replica of you that goes to work or to a meeting you really don’t have the energy or motivation to go to. Or ones that run around the house like fast electric turtles and clean while you put your feet up and watch TV.

There are probably many more, but I fear I am being driven to a silly place so will stop there. Now, off to find those wretched but intriguing machines that sell eggs.