Do you ever have that thing where you go to do something, and you are pretty convinced that what you’re going to do is very cool, and just by dint of doing it, you will confer coolness upon yourself like stars raining upon you from the heavens in perpetuity?

And then it all goes tits up and you just end up looking like a grade A fool?

Like the time I tried to show my first true love that I had super footballing skills during a kick about in my back garden. Why I even attempted this I do not know. It’s not even that I have two left feet, more like I have the worst supermarket trolley in existence in place of my entire lower torso, so that when I want to go forward I just end up making weird squeaking noises and going round in circles. That’s how good I am at sporting endeavours.

So I ran up to the ball in an athletic manner (flailing all over the place like a baby giraffe), went to kick the ball, ended up briefly standing on top of it (I know. I know. And if you asked me to replicate that manoeuvre I couldn’t if you paid me gold bars), balanced gloriously for a nano second, and then fell flat on my face.

End of cool.

Grass in the nostrils is not something you can really come back from.

That in microcosm, has been large swathes of my life to date.

On Monday we had tea at granny’s house due to a family time table so complex that charts had to be drawn and foxes heads on sticks were up 3 points on the Dow Jones. That sort of day.

At one stage during tea, a jar of beetroot made an appearance.

The lid was proving difficult to unscrew – and then I remembered that I knew a very excellent trick which Sue Perkins showed Paul Hollywood on Celebrity Great British Bake Off, where you tap the edge of the jar lid briskly against the side of a work surface, and this allows you to swiftly and easily unscrew the lid from the jar. Like magic. Jar magic.

I had been amazed upon seeing this procedure.

It was much like the first time I had seen the Empire State Building, or Jason put a whole Wagon Wheel in his mouth in one go.

The next time a tricky jar made an appearance in our house, I belted it briskly against the kitchen work surface in the manner of the Sainted Sue, and voila – jar opening ease was mine.

So enamoured was I by this success, that over the following weeks I have walloped many a jar into submission with no failure at all.

Emboldened on this very evening, I grasped the beetroot jar firmly in my hand, explained my excellent, fool proof system to all who cared to listen (everyone trapped around the dinner table with me), and clumped it against the kitchen table.


It did not budge.

I proceeded to whack it against the Welsh dresser, the side of the cooker and the work surface by the sink for a bit of variety.


By this time, hoots of derision were coming from my ever loving family. Hoots.

It was like being at an owl convention.

I handed it to my father who nearly had an aneurysm, trying to get it off. We had to stop him because we were extremely worried he might burst veins in his head – all for the sake of beetroot and the salving of manly pride.

My mother had a go with the jar opening device that used to belong to my granny.

No dice.

My brother, Uncle Robber who has the hair cutting skills of a fascist dictator, but the strength of ten men, was the last to give it a go. Even he struggled, but after several hearty wrenches, it opened spectacularly, splashing beetroot all over the work surface, his face, his t-shirt and the kitchen floor.

After that none of us really wanted any beetroot.

5 responses to “Beetroot

  1. I, too, am rubbish at opening jars. But if you hold the lid under a running hot tap for about a minute, the metal expands and it will usually come loose quite easily if you twist it using a teatowel. Has saved me much angst over the years.

  2. I tap the jar firmly against a wall rather than a work top. Works a treat. Except when I smash the jar.

  3. i have a trick that usually works. take the heavy end of a table knife (butter knife or dinner knife we call it here — not a steak knife) and tap the sides of the jar lid firmly (but not violently) and give it a quick twist. the hot water trick works sometimes too, and if you combine the two techniques you’re in like flynn.

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