I use cutlery for most foods... even burgers | BBC Radio Solent's Alun Newman

Now things seem to be getting back to normal, reports of people having saved lots of money are finally coming to an end. Thankfully.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 9:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 9:37 am
Alun Newman prefers eating most foods with cutlery - even fish and chips, pizza and burgers.

There is nothing worse than hearing everyone else has saved a fortune during the pandemic apart from you.

Although, if someone phoned, canvassing me about my pandemic spending, I might end up being a bit over-generous with how thrifty I’ve been.

A YouGov poll, found that on average the amount of extra cash stashed away down to lockdowns and restrictions on going out was more than £4,000.

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Apparently, the UK as a whole saved an extra £190 billion during the pandemic.

How the Office of National Statistics builds that data I have no idea.

Not me and my family, ours mostly went to the vet.

However, as the world is slowly making its way back to restaurants, I was recently enjoying a ‘Dirty Burger’ with some friends.

For those who don’t know a ‘Dirty Burger’, it's the opposite of the more traditional chain store, franchise version of a burger which is tidy and looks like the picture on the poster, just flatter.

A dirty burger is usually from an independent or small chain provider.

It’s a burger which has an entire meal impossibly sandwiched between two pieces of burger bun.

The burger, the chilli, the onion rings, the cheese, I could go on.

It’s the kind of burger you see pop up as you scroll through Instagram, giving you major food envy.

It looks a complete mess, ‘dirty’, and tastes absolutely awesome. Although I do feel a little bit guilty afterwards, I’m wholly satisfied at the same time.

Not necessarily in equal measure.

However, the storm of this outing had nothing to do with the food, price or quality.

It was because when my burger, fries and drink arrived, I dusted down a knife and fork and cracked on.

This was met with great opposition from my fellow diners.

I caught glances from other customers at the restaurant as if to say, ‘how could he possibly be using a knife and fork to eat a burger?’.

I always do. It’s now a habit I forget I seemingly have to justify.

I’ve never really thought about it. It just seems to be the right thing to do in my head.

A preferred means of consumption.

Sure, if I go through a drive-thru I can cope without it.

However, as a general rule and more often than not, I always use a knife and fork.

The others in the group cascaded their ridicule to no avail.

The man with the cutlery is not for turning.

So much so, I don’t think my family even notices anymore.

Fish and Chips? Knife and fork.

Hotdog? Knife and fork (too far?)

While I’m outing myself, to add to this, I even prefer sitting at a table.

I know. This is sounding like utter madness. What’s wrong with me?

The answer is, I simply prefer it. I don’t even really clock this issue now.

As a final nail in my traditional coffin, here’s something else I struggle with.

In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had... breakfast in bed.

Achy back position. No easy access to the required sauces. Crumbs everywhere. A sliding plate threatening to descend from my tray.

The list goes on.

With regards to hands and food, on reflection and to bring some balance, I shall start shouting at others in my group from now on. ‘Hands!’

‘How could you, when there’s a perfectly good invention to help!’

You're right, it doesn't sound as good and on second thoughts, it makes me sound a bit like a fruit cake (again, just a fork would do for cake).

Obsessed by the weather

Maybe it starts in the early years as children become aware that in the summer you can finally go out on to the school field learning to equate fun with sun.

Perhaps it’s because the holidays are in summer and we quickly discover a wet holiday in the UK is the equivalent of being given a punishment for being British.

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Maybe the weather being presented at the end of every news bulletin brings wonders of what tomorrow holds.

All I know is that it can be the very social oil keeping a conversation going and a useful introduction for a new neighbour.

I do, however, try to stay away from long range weather forecasts.

For me, they are like an unreliable divorced parent. They can promise so much.

Sadly, they will often let you down. It has all the hallmarks of a charismatic uncle at a wedding. Spinning a story that turns out to only have about three grains of possible truth. Yet still, I get sucked in time and time again.

I am reading about a potential ‘Atlantic Tempest’ which sounds like a new Marvel movie character. Who knows what that actually is.

I’m also seeing that a few days later a ‘Polar Plunge’ is on the way, which sounds like a yoga position.

Either way, I’m drawn in like a moth to a flame. I think it’s connected to the big question we’re all going to ask in the next few weeks. Is it going to be a white Christmas?

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron

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