James Complains About Seven Delicious Biscuits

If you’re good at maths you will see seven biscuits in this picture. If you see eight then hang your head in shame.


I enjoy a good biscuit as much as anyone. Pre-pandemic, when I used to have to attend meetings in person, I always felt slightly less hostile towards the meeting organiser if there were biscuits available. Not that biscuits could ever truly redeem any meeting, but when they were available they could help to ease the pain a little.

And while I would never actively encourage visitors to Chez Proclaims, you can be assured that if you manage to dupe me into allowing you past the threshold of my house, then I will provide you with a biscuit. And it will be a nice biscuit. Something from the ‘Tesco’s Finest’ or ‘Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference’ range. Or maybe, if I’m feeling particularly generous, it could even be an offering from Marks and Spencer.

But probably not from Waitrose. Not any more. Not after what they did.

“But James”, I hear you cry, “surely Waitrose do some very nice biscuits?”

Oh yes dear reader. Waitrose do some exceptionally nice biscuits. Some of the best I’ve ever tasted. But you shall not find them in my house.

“But what have you got against Waitrose?” I hear you plaintively protest.

I have nothing against Waitrose. I like shopping there. Even during the pandemic, when going to the supermarket has often felt akin to diving for treasure in shark-infested crocodiles, only to find that someone has already taken the treasure and left some weird lentil-based pasta twirls in it’s place, I haven’t hated shopping in Waitrose. Apart from the cost, because it’s a little more expensive than other supermarkets. But I do like a lot of the stuff they sell, in spite of the mild inconvenience of not really being able to afford it.

But let’s get back to my problem with the biscuits.

It might seem like a little thing. I’m sure some people will call me petty. But those people would be wrong.

A few weeks ago I purchased a packet of chocolate-orange cookies. And they were absolutely delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed them. They were near enough biscuit nirvana.

The trouble was that they came in a packet of seven.


What kind of inhuman monster sells biscuits in packs of seven?

OK, I’m sure I’ve already got the mathematicians on board, but it is possible that some people might be lost, so allow me to explain in greater depth, why I believe this be such a heinous crime.

Seven is far and away the worst quantity to sell biscuits in because seven is a prime number. It is only divisible by one and seven.

This means that if you buy a packet of seven biscuits, it’s impossible to share them evenly with anyone else unless you are sharing them with exactly six other people and you all have one solitary biscuit each. And when does that happen? How often are there exactly seven people in a room partaking in biscuit consumption? It’s quite a specific scenario. And if that ever does happen, then, as I said, everyone only gets one biscuit each. And surely no-one ever only wants one biscuit.

Any other scenario and you can’t divide the biscuits evenly. Someone will end up with more than everyone else. And I’m sure that marriages have broken down over less serious matters than ‘uneven biscuit distribution’.

The other option is to scoff the lot yourself. But whereas the smaller prime numbers, two, three and even five are acceptable numbers for solitary biscuit consumption (five I’ll concede is at the limit of acceptability but hardly hedonistic), seven biscuits is really too many for one person to eat on their own. Of course I could easily put away seven biscuits in one sitting, but I shouldn’t and I resent Waitrose for putting me in that position.

Biscuits should be sold in even numbers because then you can always share them with another person. I can, however, accept a packet of nine because that can at least be split three ways. Little Proclaims is too little to be given an equal share of the biscuits at the moment but one day I might be glad of a packet of biscuits offering a convenient three-way distribution.

Eleven or thirteen would also be quite bad quantities for biscuits to be sold in, but when you get to that amount then it’s surely implicit that you would need to save some for another day. And anyway, thirteen is permissible on the grounds of novelty value because it’s the traditional ‘baker’s dozen’, so it’s really twelve plus a bonus biscuit.

No, the worst number to sell biscuits in is seven.

And I am absolutely correct to be angry about this.






James Complains About Plumbers

Ok, it’s been a while since I did a ‘James Complains’, so just a  reminder that nothing here is to be taken too seriously. There are bigger problems in the world than my relationship with plumbers.

And if you are a plumber reading this, then please be aware that I am very much against the notion of tarring everyone who does a particular job with the same brush.

I’m sure there are some excellent plumbers out there and I’m sure they are professional and courteous and do a fine job to boot.

In fact the plumber that came to my house today could be described as a genuinely lovely bloke.

And he knew his way around the old pipework.

And he left us with working taps in both the kitchen and the bathroom and that is to be commended, for that was not previously the case. Continue reading James Complains About Plumbers

James Complains About January


I’m writing this  in what can only be described as a foul mood.

Christmas now seems but a distant memory and, although I’m sure I enjoyed it at the time, the net result of the recent festive period is that I’m now poor and fat.

The return to the daily grind has left me so ridiculously tired that it’s frankly astonishing to me that I actually do work for more of the year than I don’t. How have I been coping all this time? I deserve some kind of an award for bravery.

I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that getting out of bed every morning last week was nothing short of traumatic. And yet somehow I managed to force myself up and out into the morning traffic.

I’m nothing short of heroic. Continue reading James Complains About January

James Complains About Brexit

The terrible irony is that the vast majority of the people who voted to leave are the ones who will be most adversely affected. The most extreme example of turkeys voting for Christmas I can recall.”



This morning I was awoken gently by  Mrs Proclaims who broke the news to me of Britain’s collective decision to leave the EU.

It took a few moments to sink in.

We voted for Brexit!

In my wildest dreams I did not see that result coming. Continue reading James Complains About Brexit

James Complains About People Who Complain About Stuff


I’ve done it this time –  a title loaded with irony. A contradiction in terms.

If that isn’t ‘click-bait’ to the internet browsing masses then I don’t know what is.

Ok I probably don’t know what is.

Or rather I do know, and indeed my title is not it. But I’d wager it’s a little enticing.

Can I really complain about people who complain without at least acknowledging that I belong in that group.

Well yes, I can as a matter of fact. Because I mean complain in the sense of ‘actually registering a complaint’ as opposed to just having a general whinge about stuff that annoys me.

There are people out there who like to complain to organisations about the service they have received, when objectively there is no basis for that complaint.

And that annoys me.

And so I’m going to complain about them. Continue reading James Complains About People Who Complain About Stuff

James Complains About Stupid Retailers


I do most of my shopping online. I’m not especially a cliché of masculinity that detests the idea of actually going into shops. I like going into shops and looking at stuff I might want to own. I’m very much a consumer in spirit and there are lots of things that I think, if I owned them, would make my life considerably better. Continue reading James Complains About Stupid Retailers

James Complains About The Inappropriate Disposal Of Disposable Pants

To label the space in front of my house as a ‘garden’ would be somewhat overselling it. A tiny patch of gravel does not constitute a garden. Equally, a few years back, when the estate agent tried to convince me that it was suitable for ‘off-road’ parking, I was also a little sceptical. But my little car does just about fit onto the miniscule plot of land, and the kerb has been dropped, so for insurance purposes I can claim it to be such, and thus I do.

Garden, or undersized parking space, what is without doubt is that the land, however small, does belong to my lovely wife and I. It’s not much but it is ours. Continue reading James Complains About The Inappropriate Disposal Of Disposable Pants

James Complains About Ironing


The Iron Man comic books and films would probably have captured the imagination of the public a little less if his main super power was removing the creases from clothes.

But if someone offered to do that for me they would certainly be my superhero of choice.

Given the options of battling the forces of evil or making sure that my shirts are neatly pressed, I know I’d much rather take on a crazed megalomaniac and several well armed henchmen over battling with my crumpled laundry. Continue reading James Complains About Ironing

James Complains About The Complexity Of Soup

Today’s diatribe is, as ever, about something trivial and unimportant that doesn’t really have any relevance to my daily existence. Nonetheless, it did dominate my thoughts for a whole thirty minutes or so earlier this week. Continue reading James Complains About The Complexity Of Soup

James Complains About Monkey Monkey Monkey

You’d never know it to look at me but I’m reasonably fit. Not athletic you understand. I have no actual ability when it comes to sport, but when it comes to taking part there are few people as gifted as me at ‘making up the numbers’.

I’m even a member of a local gym. Sometimes I actually go there.

Continue reading James Complains About Monkey Monkey Monkey

James Complains – About An Unplanned Nap

No-one loves an afternoon nap more than me. It’s a fundamental part of the working day as far as I am concerned…

I jest, of course- I’m a teacher, if I were to fall asleep at work I’d no doubt wake up with a very different hairstyle, a creatively drawn moustache and, in the same indelible ink, some choice expletives written on my forehead.

And that’s just what the other teachers would do… Continue reading James Complains – About An Unplanned Nap

James Complains About People He Doesn’t Like

I think I’m often misrepresented as someone who doesn’t really like other people. I’m overly sarcastic and it’s been suggested more than once that I don’t suffer fools gladly. I suppose that’s true, I don’t ‘suffer’ anything gladly. Who suffers gladly?

But I’ve got nothing against fools who don’t make me suffer.

In actual fact I like people as a general rule. I just don’t very much like being around lots of them at the same time. But I don’t think social anxiety should ever be mistaken for misanthropy – they really aren’t the same thing. Continue reading James Complains About People He Doesn’t Like

James Complains – About A Sore Throat

Before I begin this particular diatribe, I need to point out that this is part of the, now regular, ‘James Complains’ feature of this blog, so even though I’m not really that ill and I’m bearing up quite well, this feature is very much focused on my ability to whinge about things that don’t really matter. If it was called ‘James Copes Quite Well In Mild Adversity’ or ‘James Makes The Best Of It’ then, obviously the tone would be different. But as it’s ‘James Complains’ I feel duty bound to lament the current state of affairs.

And the current state of affairs is that I’m not well. I’ve been not well since Friday night. On Friday night I woke up with a really sore throat. It was so painful that I couldn’t sleep. It’s now Sunday and it has got a bit better, but I’m still not well, which means I’ve been unwell all weekend. Continue reading James Complains – About A Sore Throat

James Complains – About A Shouty Man

Friday’s post signalled an end to my Blogging 101 days. Technically there were some follow-up tasks to do on the weekend, but I’d already decided the course was over, so there was no going back. However the final task did lead me to contemplate what regular features I might run on this blog, and the suggestion that generated the most overwhelming enthusiasm was a feature entitled James Complains, where I complain about stuff.

I’ve bowed to peer pressure and this is the first entry into that particular series.

Now I have a notion why people think this would be a good idea. I do have something of a sarcastic edge to my writing at times (or all of the time) and I imagine the ideal scenario would be this:

I begin a diatribe about an aspect of society familiar to us all, I point out some fairly obvious failings about the ‘thing’ in question and then I get lots of responses in my comments like :

“This is so true, lol.”

“LMAO, this always happens to me…”

Etc etc.

The post goes viral and I become an overnight internet sensation and I never have to work again.

Obviously, no-one wants that more than me.

Indeed there may come a day, when office workers click share and snigger in unison at one of my rants.

There may yet come a day when families bond over the clichés and truisms made slightly humorous by my clever play on the English language.

There may indeed come a day when I finally write something that has mass appeal.

But it is not this day.

This day I write about a shouty man.

Sorry went a bit Aragorn in Lord of the Rings there.


But the point is, this post isn’t going to go viral. But it is a valid complaint about something that actually happened to me about an hour ago.

So what happened was, I was walking along the Kings Road in Reading town centre when a man walking in the other direction, seemingly apropos of nothing, started shouting really loudly.

I mean really loudly.

I can’t really convey how loud he was on these pages. All I can do, which I will do in a moment, is write what he shouted in block capitals to convey a sense of loudness. But it won’t do it justice. He was loud. I mean he was LOUD (see? Block capitals convey nothing. I could try something else. How about, this?)

He was


He was so loud that he made me jump. He was so loud, in fact, that he triggered my ‘fight or flight’ instinct. I sized him up ready to either run away, or punch him in the face. But I didn’t want to do either of those things. So I was forced to listen to the actual words coming out of his stupid loud mouth. This is what he said:


Now I’m annoyed that he shouted so loudly that I had to at least consider whether cowardice or violence was the best solution. But I’m even more annoyed that I had to listen to the words. Because inevitably I pondered the words.

And truthfully I overthought the whole thing.

At face value, it seems as if he has seen a third party walking behind me, a third party who is in Reading for the same reasons as ‘shouty man’, and both ‘shouty man’ and ‘third party’ have had difficulties parking. ‘Shouty man’ is seemingly travelling with someone called Leslie.

That’s probably all fairly accurate. But it’s left me with lots of questions. The most pressing being, who is Leslie? Leslie is a name that tells you very little. You can’t even surmise whether Leslie is a man or a woman.

We do know that Leslie is more of a worrier than ‘shouty man’. But is Leslie someone who worries excessively, or was Leslie right to worry in this instance? We can surmise that as ‘shouty man’ is now out of his car, that he has found a space, but was it ‘up there’ as he reassured Leslie, or did it take them a lot longer to find a space? Where is Leslie now? He or she is not with ‘shouty man’. Is Leslie still in the car, keeping watch for traffic wardens as ‘shouty man’ has stopped illegally? Is ‘shouty man’ telling ‘third party’ that he hasn’t found a space, that he was as over-confident as he is shouty and there was no space to be found ‘up there’?

And I’ll never know the answers to any of these questions, because ‘shouty man’ decided to stop shouting and instead to talk at a normal volume as soon as I’d walked past him.

I just hope Leslie is ok.