The Bestest Ever Fish Pie Recipe

IMG_7443Fish pie! It’s comfort food pure and simple. There’s nothing very elegant about fish pie. You can make individual ones and serve them up in individual oven-to-table bowls. That’ll give you an authentic pub-kitchen look. Or to can just say ‘bugger it’, make a large dish and slop it out onto a plate.

If you do that you’ll have to put up with the fact that it tends to look awful; a splodge of potato and a spew of fishy sauce. But it tastes great. No nouvelle cuisine chef ever attempted fish pie, unless it was to produce something ironically post-modern, that needed to be examined with a microscope and popped on the tip of one’s tongue. Voila!

This is home cooking where no one waits around while they contemplate ‘presentation’. You simply can’t dress this one up.

But comfort food is too often a little bland and fish pie, which is essentially fish in white sauce topped with potato, risks being very bland.

So flavouring is everything. But you have to be careful because it’s so easy to overpower the fish. So rather than go overboard with herbs or spices I prefer to point up fishy flavours.

I reckon Felicity Cloake’s ‘perfect fish pie’ recipe in the Graun is a good starting point. But it’s not there for me. So let me offer my small twist on this.

Quantities for two (generous) portions:

500g potatoes, variety according to whether you like them mashed or scalloped
25g butter
Splash of milk

Salt /pepper
250ml vegetable stock
100ml (dry) cider or white wine
Small bunch of parsley, divided into leaves and stalks
400g fish fillets – smoked haddock/cod/salmon
200g whole, shell-on tiger prawns
40g butter
25g plain flour
100ml double cream
2 anchovies, finely chopped
Handful of white breadcrumbs

Grated Parmesan or Pecorino

There are three distinct stages – potato topping, fish, sauce.

Potato first. I went with mashed in which case it’s just a case of steaming the potato until cooked and mashing it with a big knob of butter and some milk. Salt and pepper here work well. The alternative is to steam the potatoes until almost done, slice them into scallops and put them to one side so you can arrange them on top of the pie later.

Then the sauce. This is the key bit; take the heads and shells off the tiger prawns and throw them into a non-stick pan with the butter. It’s the prawn shells that give the dish its sumptuous flavour. When they’ve been properly cooked add the cider (or wine), parsley stalks (having pulled off and reserved the leaves) and the stock and reduce a little. I should stress that I use my father’s unpasteurised cider, made from Bramleys, Arthur Turners and a few other varieties (Tom Putt, Michelin, Blenheim Orange) thrown in. Sweet commercial cider might not work very well. If in doubt try a dry white wine.

Next strain the liquor, throwing away all the prawny bits and keeping the liquid. To the liquid add the fish, cubed, and prawns and cook for five minutes. Use a slotted spoon, take out the fish and prawns and put them to one side, ideally in the dish the pie will be cooked in.

IMG_7446Then make a roux with 25g of butter, the anchovies and an equal amount of flour and gradually add to it the liquor from the prawns and fish. When that is all mixed in (and don’t forget to add the juices that have drained from the fish) add the cream, the parsley leaves, salt and pepper. You could add a pinch of cayenne or chilli but go easy. The main flavours of this dish should be the prawn stock sauce and the smoked fish.

Tip the sauce over the fish and then put the mashed potato on top. If you’re using scalloped potatoes toss them in olive oil or melted butter first and pepper them, then arrange them hither and thither over the top. Put it in the oven at 180C for 35 minutes (stepping in with 10 or 15 minutes to go to add blended cheese and breadcrumbs).

I reckon serve with a salad or broccoli, something green for Pete’s sakes, to take the edge off the brownness. Oh, and try not to look at it too much… just eat.

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Fresh Fig and Goats Cheese Quiche

Quiche, innit!

Quiche, innit!

Hey – a quiche, is a quiche, is a quiche, right? Absolutely. Except when it’s an excuse for a discussion about masculinity.

Let’s put that aside long enough to talk about fresh fig and goats cheese quiche for a moment. Basically it’s very simple. Go look at my recipe for goats cheese and caramelised red onion quiche.

There you’ll find the puff pastry recipe (and yes, making your own is not hard – it’s just a case of needing a bit of time for re-rolling it half a dozen times popping it in the freezer for 20 minutes between each re-roll).

The filling is likewise simple eggs and cream (50ml double cream per egg) and then your flavouring of choice.

This time dump the onion and combine the goats cheese with fresh figs. Thyme works extremely well with both. You could chop in some fresh fennel fronds too or even finely chopped fennel root itself. I played around with honey but it rather messes with the egg and cream mixture. Try to use nicely stinky goats cheese and very ripe figs. Oh, and invite me round…

That’s the quiche. Now the gender issues. Quiche? Gender issues? Of course, because real men don’t eat quiche, right?

One of the most interesting developments over the last couple of decades, certainly in the UK, also across the west and, to a certain extent globally, has been the rapid change in attitudes towards different orientations and gender identities.

Gay people still face prejudice and in some parts of the world they face outright persecution, abuse and even state sponsored violence. But across much of Europe and North America the centre of gravity in the debate has shifted decisively. You might have been shouted down for proposing the idea of same sex marriage twenty years ago. Now I suspect that you’d get a much roughed ride for opposing it.

As for transgender rights, that debate has moved on with breathtaking speed, even without the whole Caitlyn Jenner shebang. Now Germaine Greer finds herself pretty much pilloried for, frankly, pig headedness and a signal lack of humanity and generosity of spirit.

So – what has this got to do with quiche? It all stems from a 1982 book, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, which became somehow totemic in the debate, such as it was then, about masculinity. Interestingly one of the more recent memes in the debate has centred on Chuck Norris, whose personal views and on-screen propensity to settle nuanced or complex matters with his fists, (or feet, because Chuck Norris kicks stuff!) has made him an icon of a certain sort of masculinity.

The trouble is if you treat gender as a binary – male and female – and set Chuck Norris up as an archetype for one of those poles, then lots of people are going to struggle with it. I look at Chuck and see less a man than a pile of animated beefsteak. I don’t connect any substantive part of my identity with Chuck. I connect more with ET or various aliens from Star Trek. Chuck is alien, to me, on a par with the Borg and a good deal less cute than some of them.

The joy of the debate about gender identity is that we’re starting to see gender as more than binary, more than multi polar, more even than a spectrum. I’d go so far as to say that it seems increasingly irrelevant. I have a Y chromosome. So what?

And plenty of my friends seem to feel the same way. I pointed one old mate to a dating website and he was completely gobsmacked by the range of gender identities listed. I talked him through it and then we had a great conversation about how he didn’t really see himself as emotionally masculine – meaning that he doesn’t buy into the whole cliched trope of guys being cut of from their feelings. And why should he? Or another of my friends who really doesn’t feel female in the conventional sense.

So there you go – you thought you were simply getting a quiche recipe and you’re getting a diatribe on how damnably blurry gender and orientation are becoming. Personally I reckon people are starting to get a whole lot let stressed about whether they conform to some putative norm and a whole lot more comfortable about just being themselves. And if it gets any better  than that it’s because they’re eating really great quiche at the same time. Or cake. Let’s not forget cake.

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In Search of Sacred England – Part 4


Man and tearoom in harmony…

The fourth and final day of our tour of sacred England was, on reflection, the most special. It didn’t take in any grand cathedral but it did connect, in one case unexpectedly, with the essential simplicity of our connection with the great unknowable.

We set off early from Bath and headed for Bradford on Avon. Despite having tramped around much of Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset over the years I’d never visited Bradford before. It’s a picturesque former industrial town set on steep hillsides along a river – an eighteenth century premonition of the industrialisation of the north decades later.

And, perhaps appropriately, the Bridge Tea Rooms reminded me of that Yorkshire institution Betty’s with the waiting staff in frilly aprons and wearing lacy things on their heads. I reflected on English tea rooms when I was in Paris earlier this month. The Parisians have their patisseries and their grand salons but the tea room, rather like the pub, fulfils a function that seems quite alien to our Continental neighbours.

Urban culture has never quite taken hold in Britain. While Paris or Barcelona or Berlin offer the chance to promenade, to see and be seen, to indulge in cultured delights, English cities are either overgrown villages or, like London, dozens of small settlements that have simply grown together.

St Laurence's Church

St Laurence’s Church

When the Saxons settled London they eschewed the Roman city and built out to the west from Aldwych (old port) along the Strand (beach) to Westminster. Like the Celts whom they displaced or assimilated they appreciated space.

Around my part of Sussex the South Saxon villages of The Weald are spaced just far enough apart to discourage frivolous ‘dropping by’ without being too remote from one another. Four or five miles apart seemed about right to them – an hour and a half’s walk each way.

Paris owes a great deal to Rome. London owes a great deal to Wadhurst, Ticehurst, Lamberhurst and their ilk. And by the same token while the salons of continental Europe come from the urban tradition, the pubs and tearooms of England come from its villages.

Both are essentially the same place; at best they are like a communal parlour or living room, one with beer and pickled things, the other with tea and cake. It’s akin to being in your own front room but with warmth, company, entertainment and food on tap. Of course the likes of Starbucks have tried to recreate this third space but they seem to be unable to grasp what the best publicans, tearoom owners and Miss Blennerhassett all know; that the place is made by its patrons. They shape it. The landlord or proprietor is merely the custodian. You could visit nowhere in England bar its pubs and tearooms and still have a good grasp of the place and its constituent parts.

So what I think Paris really needs is a proper English tea room. I have a name for it; ‘Let Them Eat Cake.’ I’m convinced it would be a hit.

Interior: St Laurence's Church

Interior: St Laurence’s Church

Bradford’s roots are at least as old as the Roman occupation. We didn’t see the Roman mosaic but we did visit the Saxon church of St Laurence. After the grandeur of Wells, the magisterial might of Winchester, the elegant pomp of Salisbury, St Laurence’s somehow captures what, for me, the spiritual should be about – a quiet, uncluttered, unfiltered relationship with the ‘her’, ‘him’, ‘it’ – however one thinks of the encompassing totality of the universe.

IMG_6289-1I get the same at Avebury, but in a different way. Stonehenge has a powerful and intangible pull, but Avebury is somehow welcoming. How many stone circles have a pub in the middle, after all?

I was at Avebury at the beginning of February, the Celtic festival of Imbolc. The bloody cold Celtic festival of Imbolc. A couple of friends had a handfasting in a stand of trees on the earthworks. It was seven a.m., there was snow on the breeze, I lost all feeling in my fingers as toes. It was beautiful and romantic. Frostbite notwithstanding….

IMG_6292I first visited Avebury with my primary school and have returned periodically. For me Avebury says something about our ancestors’ spiritual relationship with their environment and it still stands, the village at its heart, as a reminder that our relationship with the world around us should never lose sight of that. If the notion of the spiritual doesn’t sit well with you  simply think of it as the symbiosis between ourselves and the natural world, our dependency, our impermanence and insignificance against the infinite sweep of time and space. That’s a little of what Avebury means to me.

And having left we popped into The Barge Inn at Honeystreet, which hosts several good beers and the Centre for Crop Circle Research all overlooked by the Westbury White Horse. It’s quite special. I first came here with an old friend twenty odd years ago. It’s barely changed other than to get even more rock n roll with a picture of Frank Zappa over the fireplace and a selection of other great rockers adorning its walls.

Then we made for Uffington stopping off briefly at Aldbourne where the Dr Who story ‘The Daemons’ was filmed, dead scary when you’re about five (I suspect my parents wouldn’t have allowed me to watch) and the source of the immortal exchange:

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Jenkins?

Jenkins: Sir!

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Chap with wings, there. Five rounds rapid.

IMG_4687Uffington meanwhile is one of my favourite places. It was the first time I’d visited in years but that’s partly because it had such strong memories. It featured in one of my favourite television programmes when I was growing up, The Moon Stallion, and it’s a place I’ve always tried to visit with my favourite people. I finally decided it was time to make some new memories.

IMG_4658Again it’s difficult to describe what it means to me but a lot of it is again about our relationship with the landscape. The Uffington White Horse is the most ancient of our remaining hill figures dating back to the bronze age and making it some three thousand years old, give or take a couple of hundred. It’s one of my favourite pieces of art, ancient or modern – it could be either, its lines are so contemporary. But I like the idea that the Britons of Caractacus would have known it, and Alfred (who fought the battle of Ashdown nearby – the Danes apparently camped at Uffington Castle) and perhaps Arthur (who perhaps triumphed here too at Mount Badon, a subsequent second Battle of Badon in the C7th was also linked by chroniclers to Ashdown, a name apparently liberally applied to the Berkshire Downs).

After the Horse we wandered down to Waylands Smithy and then back to the car for a grinding journey home along the modern successors to the Ridgeway. These four days were, all in all, amongst my best ever, never to be forgotten.

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In Search of Sacred England – Part 3

IMG_6225Our day started in Glastonbury, waking up in the yurt, crawling out of bed and doing the washing up in a tin bowl with water from a plastic container. It was glorified camping; glorified, but still camping. We didn’t stay for breakfast but instead headed for Wells.

Wells is one of those funny little towns (presumably strictly a city by virtue of its having a cathedral), stranded in time like an oxbow lake orphaned when the river of which it was once part meandered elsewhere. Wells must once have been important. Now it’s like a number of West-country towns for which I have warm feelings, a backwater, an enclave of the traditional where the worse excesses of modernity – endless retails chains and cookie cutter high streets – have drifted by.

IMG_6252Wells cathedral is beautiful. The statues in the niches suggest that, perhaps, the puritans held less sway here. We are appalled by the violence and brutality of militants and fanatics borrowing Islam as a cloak of convenience, not least when they destroy some priceless piece of human heritage, but forget that our own religious fanatics did much the same three or four hundred years ago.

I should have paid for parking. Instead I parked on a space that gave us no time to enjoy what Wells had to offer. So before we could properly take in the place’s considerable beauty we were on the road again, to Bath.

IMG_4757I have a soft spot for Bath. Many years ago my girlfriend of the time got a job in Bath and house sat for her boss while he was away for six months. And so I divided my time between Oxford and his place in St Catherine’s valley north of Batheaston. It was idyllic. It was a time when property was cheap and we indulged in the fantasy and went house hunting. I shudder at the memory. If only we’d known what was about to happen to the housing market. But we didn’t, leaving us to be wise after the event. However I did get to see the inside of a lot of beautiful houses.

I don’t get back very often but being able to do so was a treat. Bath is blessed with lots of great independent shops. I’m not the greatest fan of shopping but places flogging books or cheese I can wholeheartedly support. This trip took in two great bookshops; Much Ado Books in Alfriston and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading delights in Bath. From a third, Barnett’s in Wadhurst I bought my companion a fabulous book about Eric Ravilious which served as the perfect momentum of the trip as the Long Man, the Cerne Giant, other white horses we saw and the Sussex Downs all feature heavily.

IMG_4679But the highlight of Bath was probably the tea rooms. I stopped to ask a couple of parking inspectors for recommendations because they do say ‘ask a policeman’ and they were the closest uniformed types to hand. One positively sneered (personally I thought I was being nice by asking them as plenty of people treat parking inspectors as pariahs) but the other pointed us to the lovely Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms in Saville Row. The theme was 1940s, the staff wore headscarves a la Norah Batty and managed to make them look dead glam. I had the milk tart, as you do.

And that was Bath – lovely architecture, pretty views, enticing shops and a nice tart.

We made our way back to the airbnb place we’d booked off Lansdowne Road – a cosy garden room – and sat outside and feasted on cheese and wine and contemplated how much happiness is to be had from the simple things in life.

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In Search of Sacred England – Part 2

IMG_6202On day two of our trip we woke late. We’d told our airbnb host that we’d like breakfast at eight but the clock read half past. She wasn’t impressed. ‘Well it’s not my fault if it’s not nice!’ She was a study in passive aggression. My suspicion after a number of fraught email exchanges is that she doesn’t really want the great unwashed in her nice house. So we ate breakfast and exchanged mildly uneasy whispers.

IMG_6181Then we strolled around Salisbury. Of any cathedral in England Salisbury is perhaps the best loved. Its graceful spire dominates the landscape. Our great churches rising above the trees and the roofs of villages, towns and cities are lighthouses guiding the weary traveller like battered ships to port.

And in a rather different way they act as wayposts still, guiding us from our past to our future. The cathedral was playing host to two different exhibitions – one a modern art insallation, a glowing bead curtain of light – the other celebrating 800 years of Magna Carta, an anniversary really worth marking.

IMG_6191From Salisbury we headed off towards Shaftesbury. We climbed Gold Hill. We had a pint. We looked around and decided it was a charming but one horse, two road town.


Gold Hill, Shaftesbury

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury

We bought pork pies and things to add to the collection of cheese I’d decided to haul around England – a bit of everything and anything I could lay my hands on including Blue Monday from Blur’s Alex James, Sister Sarah from High Weald Dairy, Cornish Yarg, a chunk of Lord of the Hundreds, and a Golden Cross goats cheese log.

Me, a basket of cheese and an over excited giant

Me, a basket of cheese and an over excited giant

Then we headed to Cerne Abbas (a tortuous trip exacerbated by Google Maps not being able to reroute us when an incident closed a road) where we shared a picnic in the shadow of the giant who, it has to be said, seemed remarkably pleased to see us.

Next we made for Camelot. I’ve been to Cadbury before. There’s nothing much there except earthworks, cows, cowpoo and a stunning view of the English landscape stretching out across the Summer Country to Avalon and the sense of walking hand in hand with myth and history. It reminds me that what we claim as ours has belonged to untold generations and that we owe it to those yet unborn to hand it on unspoiled. It is greater than us and our pettiness, our greed, our impulse to despoil for quick profit.

Cadbury across Dorsetshire

Cadbury across Dorsetshire

But Cadbury at least is untouched. There’s no attempt to monetise it, to woo Japanese or American tourists with artifice and tat. Like Glastonbury Tor, our next stop, it simply is. There’s no need to adorn, to gild the lily. Again what you get for your pains is a windswept hilltop with an orphaned church tower and a panorama laid out at your feet.

We disappeared off into Somerset Levels outside Glastonbury to eat at The Sheppey, one of the oddest venues I’ve tried. Like some trustafarian out post in the marshes the food had pretensions that it didn’t deliver on and cocktails that were, as described, pudding in a glass. I tend to like my food simple, to trade on good ingredients cooked so their quality shines through. Fussiness is generally a distraction and the kitchen at The Sheppey is too fussy and just too pedestrian at the same time.

Finally we reached our airbnb for the night; a yurt on the outskirts of Glastonbury where we lit candles and the woodburner and dissolved in the embracing warmth of our surroundings.

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In Search of Sacred England – Part 1

The Sussex Downs above Wilmington

The Sussex Downs above Wilmington

I get pretty fed up with empty patriotism – the sort that allows the otherwise selfish and dim, the greedy and mediocre a sense of superiority simply through the tenuous link of having been born somewhere. You know the people I mean; the barroom bores who read endless books about the SAS or who hark back 200 years to Waterloo, or 600 years to Agincourt for something that puts them a rung or four above every Frenchman who ever lived.

Sure they may be insurance clerks or selling double glazing but they are British born and bred and damn it their passport means they can look down their noses at Voltaire or de Gaulle, Satre or Renoir just by virtue of that fact.

This is the sort of twaddle peddled by the Sun, the Mail and the Express. It’s long been an effective way of bending the will of regular people to that of their lords and masters. Look back a hundred years and the slaughter of stable boys and factory workers in the quagmire of the Somme on the orders of generals for whom the rank and file weren’t even fully human and you’ll see clearly how it works. Heaven forbid we should ever empathise with people much like us who differ mostly through where they live and the language they speak. And we know this to be true or we wouldn’t celebrate the fabled football match between the German and British lines of Christmas 1914.

But there is a sort of patriotism in which I do allow myself to indulge. It’s a simple pleasure in the traditions and history of the place in which I grew up and still live. It’s not a ‘my culture is better than yours’ sort of patriotism, let alone a flag waving, this side of the border-that side of the border, jingoism.

Indeed having just come back from Paris I again have a slight sense of regret that English is ever more widely spoken in Parisian restaurants and that by capitulating the French are becoming less French.

I got a perverse pleasure, while visiting Minerve in the Haut Languedoc, of venturing into a shop selling the output of a local vinyard and getting by more or less in halting French, eliciting a screwed up face and a ‘je ne comprend pas’ from the proprietor when, on my way out, I wish him a jolly nice afternoon.

But, as anyone who has followed this blog will know, I have a deep affection for England all whimsical English things. And so when I have a visitor I tend to show them some of what I love.

A few weeks back I had a particularly special visitor with whom I really wanted to share all of that and so I planned, if not quite a grand tour then certainly a whirlwind charge around sacred England.

Perhaps it’s a reflection of having grown up in the south but most of the sites I think define sacred England stretch across the landscape from Sussex to Bath and north to the Berkshire downs.

So here are a few photos from the first day of our trip. We got up early and I fried up a proper English breakfast before jumping in the car and heading south.

The Long Man...  ...and some rather less long sheeps

The Long Man…

Our first stop was the downs above Wilmington. The Long Man is one of three ancient hill figures carved into chalk hillsides across southern England. We trudged up the slope (trudge, trudge, trudge) and then picked our route down into Alfriston.

Tea shoppe the first - Alfriston

Tea shoppe the first – Alfriston

Alfriston is a wonderfully pretty Sussex village boasting three mediaeval pubs and a great bookshop, one of my favourites.  We stopped for tea and on our way back to the car we filled a plastic bag with sloes and damsons from the hedge by the path. It was bursting with fruit and we made a large jar of damson vodka and a couple of bottles of sloe gin (which will have to wait a few years to be worth drinking).

Then we headed off to lunch at the Cricketers in North Berwick, pretty much around the corner from Alfriston and Wilmington. The Cricketers is an almost perfect downland pub, flint-studded and red tiled. The garden was in the last flush of high summer, flowers everywhere. We probably should have eaten outside but it wasn’t as warm as the end of August, start of September should have been. But the food was good – we just shared a smoked fish platter. I vaguely remember pudding. It was probably unnecessary.

The Cricketers, North Berwick, Sussex

The Cricketers, North Berwick, Sussex

Having done that we jumped in the car, stopped briefly at Middle Farm to look at chickens, as you do, and headed up to join the A272. The A272 (along with the A303) is one of England’s legendary roads. OK, so it doesn’t quite have the same rock n roll resonance as Highway 61 or Route 66, but it does carve its way through Sussex from one end (almost – it starts in the middle of nowhere between Heathfield and Mayfield) to the other and ends up in Winchester via places like Petworth and Midhurst. Being a two-tea-room day we stopped for a cuppa in Midhurst. Tearooms seem to have become all a bit fancy with single estate teas these days when once upon a time it was a mug of builders and a nice bit of cake. The prices have become similarly chi chi too, but hey…


Jane Austen’s gaff – presumably the sign advertising that she lived there was added later…

We stopped off at Chawton to wave at Jane Austen’s House, strolled around the Cathedral grounds in Winchester, dined at the Fish Tale on Eastgate where we shared another platter and ate a laksa that managed to turn a comforting noodle soup into something far too delicate, fey and lacking in heart. Then we jumped onto the A303 heading to Salisbury via a detour that took in Stonehenge, lowering in the last light of day, for our room for the night.

There we had a near disastrous mishap involving rope, a magnificent four poster bed and a yale lock, that had it not been for the Houdini-like abilities of my companion could have ended very badly. But that is a story for a log fire and a few glasses of decent whisky as the winter nights draw in. But I’ll guarantee you’d laugh.

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How To Pick Up Women

Hi, thanks for dropping by.

Now as the author of a popular blog about life in Sussex (and wherever else I go) people often ask me for advice about relationships.

I think this demonstrates a degree of intelligence. Of course you can find all sorts of advice like this all over the internet, most of it from sad, illiterates scribbling click-baitey articles from the comfort of their apartments in St Petersburg or Dishwash, Idaho, many of whom have managed to avoid talking to adult women their entire lives.

I’m not going to give you that sort of advice. No sir. I’m going to give you good, solid advice about how to pick up women founded on experience and solid scientific evidence. And don’t worry. It’s simple. And there are very few long words. Or metaphorical allusions. Damn. Except those ones.

So to the point.  Let’s start by looking at posture. People often neglect the horrendous back injuries that people sustain because their pick-up technique is poor. Therefore please ensure that your feet are approximately shoulder width apart.

Then decide whether you are going to take hold of the woman you are going to pick up from the front or the back. Generally I prefer to grasp them from behind. This sidesteps the issue of finding your face wedged in their cleavage. This can be both distracting and cause breathing difficulties. It’s also awkward if you haven’t yet been introduced to the person concerned.

Then you must decide at what point to grasp them. You will want to bend your knees before lifting so you can keep your back straight and let your thighs do all the work.

If you are taller than the person you are picking up then it makes sense to take them by the waist. If you are shorter then perhaps by the thighs. Remember; bend your knees and keep a straight back.

Finally try not to pick up anyone who is too large for you. Someone who is petite and only 150cm tall might well weigh less than 50kg. Someone more solidly built and around 175cm might well be 75kg. If they are over 190cm and have a fondness for cake (don’t we all) then you may wish to proceed with caution. If you injure yourself trying to lift them they might be deeply hurt and take your subsequent course of physiotherapy as a comment on their worth and attractiveness. By attempting to pick someone up and failing you risk hurting not only yourself but them. Don’t do it. It’s not worth the pain. For anyone.

Lastly, to turn around Miss Piggy’s immortal advice that one should never eat more than one can lift, one should never lift anyone that one doesn’t feel is, in a manner of speaking, edible. It can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings.

So there you go. Good luck with picking up women. Just mind that back!

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