Tuesday, August 31, 2004

When neighbours attack...

CJ's new neighbours have started to move in.

We discovered this very early on Saturday morning when the start to a days worth of drilling, sanding and echoey shouts was signalled by a very loud door bang at around 8am. Come back new cat, all is forgiven.

It wasnt a great problem to be honest, these things need to be done and its always best to be an understanding neighbour when this happens. Unlike CJ's other neighbour.

CJ's house needed quite a bit of work doing to it when CJ moved in, we'd finish work around 6 then rush round to the house to do a couple of hours renovating. A couple of hours only as on the first night, the neighbour came round to ask how long we were planning on making noise as he's a lorry driver and needs to go to bed early (we now know that I actually get up earlier than he does). We didnt want to make enemies straight away so we stopped. It appeared that we could only do work from 6-8 at night then.

So we decided to save all the heavy work till the weekends, the first Saturday we arrived at about 10 and started to do the noisy stuff around 11am. Within minutes the neighbour was round:

"Would you mind not making too much noise at the weekends as my wife works nights and spends the weekend days in bed. She gets up around 5 so you should be ok then".

So not only could we not do work after 8 in the week, we were also restricted at the weekends too. We toed the line for a few days, then ignored him.

Why cant some people just be a bit more understanding.

Anyway, it sounds like the new neighbours are building the house from scratch again, it can be the only explanation for all the noise emanating from it. It isnt a great problem to us really though as we'd planned to do a bit of decorating this weekend anyway.

By Sunday afternoon I had lost a bit of interest and energy, and as a consequence was taking ages to get drinks of water, wash paint trays, etc. I even started pegging some washing out.

As I was doing this, I was aware that I could hear the conversations of the new neighbours very clearly as all their windows were open. Amongst the singing and chit-chat someone was asked to get something from the shed at the bottom of the garden.

As expected, the back door opened and out of it stepped what, on first assumption appeared to be a daughter who then walked down the path towards the shed. She would be no more than 9 or 10 and as she walked down the path she looked over and gave me a cheery little wave, which I thought was nice.

"Hello, how are you?" I said.

"Ok thank you" She replied.

"Are you keeping out of trouble?" I asked. I noticed she was wearing a very fetching paint splattered bin bag over her normal clothes.

"I'm painting" She stated as she pointed at the bin bag.

" I can see that" I said.

"Mum works at a residential home and she's just bought this house and I'm helping her paint so I've put this on over my clothes to stop paint getting over them." She ventured, more info than we all needed.

"You'll have to bring some scruffy clothes next time then" I suggested.

"Yes I will" she said as she walked back into the house.


'What a pleasant little girl' I thought as I continued to hang the washing out.

As she returned back through the house I could still hear their conversations:

"Who were you talking to?" asked the Mother

"Some man hanging washing out" my new friend replied

"Did he ask you what you were wearing?"


"Well dont tell strange men what you're wearing again"

I ran back into the house quickly, promising myself not to talk to small people again without a witness present.

Friday, August 27, 2004


My friend Jake isnt one for splashing his money around, he's very prudent. He lives with the lovely Karen and CJ and I were invited round there the other Friday night for drinks and something to eat.

During the night the subject of Karens impending birthday was brought up in conversation, it was the following Monday and Jake hadnt as yet got her anything. His argument of them just buying a house was treated with the contempt it deserved.

Karen had got her eye on a £160 handbag from John Lewis which she proceeded to describe and then subtley provide directions to once you were in the shop.

Jake coughed a bit at this, but the level had been set, there was no way he was going to get away with not buying this handbag now it had been mentioned. Especially as it was out it the open in front of his friends. Failure to get this present would mean punishment on so many levels. Karen had been clever. Jake had been weak.

His life would not be worth living if he failed to provide this gift for his wonderful partner and he would end up spending far more than the original £160 in levelling the ground once Karen realised it was bath salts and not a handbag in the wrapping paper. He might as well just do it. For an easy life.

"You aren't getting anything else if I spend £160 though" he asserted. Karen said nothing.

The following day CJ and I offered to go into town to motivate and help Jake, whilst Karen continued her solo attempt at the IKEA visits record. First stop was John Lewis where we followed the directions given the previous night and before long found the handbag as described.
The price on it was £110, not the £160 as stated. Jakes face lit up. There was a similar one next to it that was £160 though, but it wasnt as close to Karens description as the one at £110 was. So we bought it and Jake was so pleased at saving £50, he even ventured:

"seeing as we've saved some money, we can go and buy the other things that Karen has mentioned in the past week"

All in all, Jake went mad, spending around £200 in total.

On her birthday Karen was very pleased with her abundance of presents, especially when she told Jake that he needed to go back and swop the handbag for the more expensive one as the handbag he had brought might have been cheaper, but it was the wrong one and not really what she wanted.

"But thanks for extra presents, you really are a darling. I thought you weren't buying anything else" She smirked.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

How to be a man

1, OPENING JARS - nnng, she's struggling. You take it from her hands, open it effortlessly and pretend she loosened it for you. She didn't. Jars are men's work.

2, CALLING SOMEONE 'SON' - Especially policeman but even saying it to kids makes you the man

3, DOING A PROPER SLIDE TACKLE - Beckham free kicks? Gay. A Stuart Pearce tackle is the pinnacle of the game, simultaneously winning the ball and crippling the man. Magic.

4, SHARPENING A PENCIL WITH A STANLEY KNIFE - Blunt, is it? Hand it here love. No, I don't need a sharpener, you think I can't whittle.

5, GOING TO THE TIP - A manly act which combines driving, lifting and - as you thrillingly drop your rubbish into another huge pile of other rubbish -noisy destruction.

6, DRINKING UP - Specifically, rising from the table, slinging your coat on and downing two thirds of a pint in one fluid movement. Then nodding towards the door, saying, "Let's go" and striding out while everyone else struggles to catch up with you. God, you're hard.

7, HAVING A THIN BIT OF WOOD - in the shed, solely to stir paint with.

8, HAVING A SCAR - Ideally it'll be a facial knife wound, but even an iron burn on the wrist is good. "Ooh, did it hurt". "Nah".

9, HAVING A HANGOVER AND THICK STUBBLE - When birds have been partying they just whinge. You, on the other hand have physical evidence of your hardness, sprouting from your face. "Big night?" Grr, what does it look like.

10, NODDING AT COPPERS - A moments eye contact is all it takes for you to share the unspoken bond. "We've not seen eye to eye in the past", it says, "but someone's got to keep the little scrotes in line".

11, USING POWER TOOLS - slightly more powerful than you need or can safely handle. Pneumatic drilling while smoking a fag? Superb.

12, KICKING A FOOTY AGAINST A GARAGE DOOR - Clang-g-g-g-g-g-! Stitch that becks, I kick so hard I set off car alarms.

13, ARRIVING IN A PUB LATE... and everyone cheers you. It doesn't mean you're popular, it just means your mates are pissed. However, the rest of the pub doesn't know that.

14, NOT WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT - fat is a feminist issue, apparently. Brilliant. Pass the pork scratchings.

15, CARVING THE ROAST - and saying "are you a leg or breast man" to the blokes and "do you want stuffing" to the women. Congratulations, you are now your dad.

16, WINKING - turns women to putty. Doesn't it?

17, TEST SWINGING HAMMERS - ideally, B&Q would have little changing rooms with mirrors so you could see how rugged you look with any DIY item. Until then, we'll make do with the aisles.

18, TAKING OUT £200 FROM A CASHPOINT - okay, so it's for paying the plumber later but with that much cash you feel like a mafia don. The only thing better is peeling notes off the roll later.

19, PHONE CALLS THAT LAST LESS THAN A MINUTE - unlike birds, we get straight to the point. "alright? Yep. Drink? Red lion? George, it is then. Seven. Seeya."

20, PARALLEL PARKING - bosh, straight in. first time. Can Schumacher do that? No, because his car's got no reverse gear which, technically, makes you the worlds best driver.

21, HAVING EARNED THAT PINT - Since the dawn of time, men have toiled in the fields in blistering heat. Why? So, when it's over we can stand there in silence, surveying our work with one hand resting on the beer gut while the other nurses a foaming jug of ale. Aaaah.

22, HAVING SOMETHING PROPERLY WRONG WITH YOU - especially if you didn't make a fuss. "Why was I off, nothing much, just a brain haemorrhage".

23, KNOWING WHICH SCREWDRIVER IS WHICH - "a Phillips? For that? Are you mad, bint?"

24, TAKING A NEWSPAPER INTO THE LOO - a visual code that says that's right, I'm going in there for a huge, long man-sized sh#t.

25, CALLING YOUR MATE A C_*T - and punching him on the shoulder. Just a man's way of saying "you're a good mate; I missed you while you were in hospital".

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


I seemed to have developed dumpy fingers, or at least that's what I've been told. I may have had them all my life but it's not the kind of thing you admit to yourself. Im not sure when exactly it happened or whether it took place over a period of time, but I've discovered that I appear to have chipolatas where my fingers used to be.

I hadnt really noticed until Watski Jnr brought it to my attention, now its become a source of amusement to him and he never misses a chance to remind me. Git.

After much head scratching I think Ive traced the cause. And I'd like to bring this condition to the attention of the world and help to find a cure before its too late for any other sufferers out there. I would guess there may be a few like me.

Its what's known as 'Decathlonitis': which is the latin for playing too much Daley Thompsons Decathlon on Spectrum 48k as a youngster.

I knew that those teenage days on the computer would come back to haunt me at some time, all that pummelling with the fingers on this game as a teenager definitely had the potential to cause long term damage. Now it's realised itself and ended up restricting the growth of my fingers, and what have I gained out of it? The 100 metre world record in 1987. Oh yes. Why didn't I listen?

I wonder if the manufacturers are liable. There's blame so there might well be a claim coming EA Sports' way or whoever it was.

So any 80's kids out there. Keep an eye on your fingers.

And if you do get ridiculed for it then be comforted in the knowledge that at least you were better at Daley Thompsons Decathlon than them.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Alternative Olympics

As I've mentioned before in these lines, I'm quite enjoying watching the Olympics. Or actually, I enjoy watching the Olympics when the Brits are in something, so Im guessing that the actual time I spend watching the Olympics will begin to diminish as we get through the rest of this week.

Arent there some god awful sports represented though? Dressage for example, horse training in other words. Sailing, not much happening there either. Archery, shooting - a bit boring too. I think you get the idea. With so many periphary sports I cant help thinking that they ought to make some of them a little more exciting.

Maybe swimming would have that added bite if a crocodile was loose in the pool or maybe a bunch of piranhas, box jellyfish or similar ilk. Imagine being interviewed after the race with your arm falling off. That would get them moving a bit quicker. Judo could take place on a floor of marbles.

Sailing would have a little extra interest if holes were drilled into the boats and the one that got round the furthest before sinking was the winner. The marathon runners could have pot shots taken at them from snipers hidden on the top floors of kebab houses. 1500 metre runners would have to run backwards and pole vaulters would have big springs on the end of their poles.

Archery would generate more viewers if they had to fire at apples on their coaches heads. And what about if the hockey was taking place on the same field that they were throwing the hammer and javelin. Its the way forward Im telling you.

All this would definitely get me more interested.

Captain Bob

Respect today has to go to Bob Brown for being the first deranged man to win the California to New York ultra marathon.

Good Old Captain Bob

He's probably not deranged but its the only conclusion I can arrive at to explain why this man ran 50 miles a day from one side of America to the other. The equivalent of 2 marathons a day. Not just for a couple of days, oh no because that would be so easy wouldnt it? He ran 50 miles a day for 2 and a half months. Yes, 2 and half months - a total of 3,100 miles.

You can take your Olympians and your failed athletes, I'll stick with old Captain Bob if its all the same. He says he's 35 years old, but he looks a lot older than that. Who says exercise is good for you?

Reading a bit more about this living legend I find that apparently he got into endurance racing after running a marathon and finding it too easy. Too easy? Not content with laughing in our faces at our weaknesses he has also cycled from Lands End to John O'Groats in record time and won the World Decatriathlon Championships which is just a 24 mile swim, a 1,120 cycle ride and a 262 mile run.

He's definitely a chap I can identify with having spent most of the weekend lying on the settee watching TV thinking about the food in the fridge.

Monday, August 23, 2004

UK - Unlucky Kingdom?

Glued as I am to the synchronised diving, the gymnastics and other things I would never normally watch, I can't help but notice a common theme emerging from this years Olympics:

The UK are either extremely unlucky, or extremely rubbish.

I love Sport, any Sport, and I'd watch any Sport so the Olympics is right up my street. As is normal whilst driving to work, I was listening to 5live last Wednesday morning. Their programmes are coming from Greece and they were commenting on the rowing, which sounds as though it's taking place at somewhere called 'Skinny Ass'.

The first British rowers started off in their race, tried their hardest and came fourth by a milli-second, unfortunately only the top 3 went through. The second set of rowers went off and exactly the same thing happened.

The third set of rowers then set off and came third by another nano-second. 'Yesss' I thought. This time only the top 2 went through. Booo..

Later on the equestrians were beaten by a German (who else?) who had apparently broken a rule during her winning ride. The German was then disqualified and then re-instated. As if finishing behind someone who had cheated wasnt bad enough, they tell you that you've won and then when you're right in the middle of celebrating, they tell you that what they actually meant when they told you that you'd won, was that you hadnt won. Luckily this has since been changed.

On the way home I was listening to one of the swimming finals, a young British lad was just about to dive in when his goggles broke. Big wimp, crikey, I can swim without goggles, I thought. But apparently its a bit more of an essential item for professional swimmers though. How unlucky is it to have your goggles snap just before the race of your life? Curse you Lord!!

Then the story of the judo guy who had been pummelling the Greek to within and inch of his life for the first 2 rounds of the right and almost all of the final one. The Greek then finds it within himself to pin the Brit down in the last 4 seconds and win the tie.

Then the Korean Hockey team who scored with 30 seconds left to beat the British team 3-2.

Luckily we had a better day on Saturday where we won quite a few golds but Sunday saw the return of the GB we know and love with athletes failing left, right and centre. Jumpers not jumping, sprinters not sprinting and runners coming home in last places looking like they're running after butterflies.

The worst thing is that the general feeling is 'oooh hard luck'. Hard luck nothing, no good more like. The sooner this 'taking part is all that counts attitude' is eradicated then we will continue to get beaten by people, teams and countries who simply want it and deserve it more than we do.

Am I being harsh?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Prescott Watch: No.37 in a Series of 342

Its been a busy old water related week for John Prescott this week. Our hero is currently in charge of the country whilst Big Tone goes for a romantic holiday with the missus and kids and 400 Special Branch Officers.

Being the big nob with his finger over the button our hero decides to.... go on holiday as well. While the cats away and all that.

The Deputy Prime Minister decides to stay closer to home and this week was away on holiday in North Wales with his Special Branch protection, where he observed a kayaker in trouble in a river, as you do. With no thought for his own safety Mr Prescott immediately despatched his protection into the water whilst he leant against a tree and finished his pork pie, and day-dreamed about being PM.

Seeing that this was having no effect Mr Prescott then discarded his lunch and jumped into the water with the impact of a meteor the size of New York falling into the ocean. The river did the decent thing and immediately dispersed over the landscape, and the kayaker, once retrieved from the top of a nearby tree was especially pleased to be saved.

He then continued his Moses like crusade against water on a visit to the poor Cornish town of Boscastle, who suffered a terrible tragedy this week. He failed to mention that he may have inadvertently been the cause of all this on-rushing water, but he offered his support anyway.

There's no basis to the rumour that on meeting Mr Prescott the villager in the photo said:

"its a pity you weren't here yesterday when it was raining, we could have wedged you under that bridge and saved ourselves a lot of hassle"


Friday, August 20, 2004

Sun crazed..

I'd noticed something a little different about CJ over the last week or so. She seems to be getting browner, as in more tanned.

I know the sun has shone periodically over the last few weeks, but not enough to bring the freckles out on her nose surely. I was puzzled.

"Is it me, or are you getting more tanned" I asked.

"Oh, I've been on the sunbed a couple of times - I didnt want to be white on the beach" She said.


And then I twigged. CJ is going on holiday with her friend at the end of this week to Ibiza. She has been preparing for a few post 90 degree days in August on the hot balearic island in her own inimitable style....

...by going on a sunbed!

"They do have sun at Ibiza you know" I said

"I know, but I dont want to be too white on the beach" she replied.

There are some things that I will never understand.


Thursday, August 19, 2004



I was really hoping this was a practical joke when I first spotted this out of the corner of my eye: a rubber spider, yes that's what it is.

It wasn't.

It's a good couple of inches diameter. Yes it is.

Dr DooWatski's home for creepy crawlies seems to be definitely open for business lately, even though I put the 'closed - and that means you!' sign on the door.

This wee beastie was seen making himself at home in my bath last night. What am I meant to do with it? I cant even shoo it out because it keeps falling down the sides. God knows where it came from.

I'm currently locked in the spare room and i've left the back door open. I hope he leaves of his own accord before the frogs spot their opportunity to come in again.

It's definitely worthy of Watski's first attempt at using photos on the blog.

Say "hurray Watski, photos - you're the greatest. We love you"


"Even though you're a big girl when it comes to creepy crawlies"

Hey, there was no need for that!
Posted by Hello

Spider Kaneevel

A small spider has decided to set up his fly trap in the wing mirror on my car. He's spun his web over the mirror then lies in wait behind the glass.

He's a pretty fearless little chap, a spider dare-devil. I've been driving down the motorway fairly speedily and looked over and noticed him shinning his way down his self made twine to pick up small insects that have been caught by the breeze.

He then fiddles around for a bit, doing what spiders do, before repairing his web and running back up to his hidey-hole to presumably eat his lunch.

It must be the spider version of wing-walking. Either that or he's very vain and likes to watch himself: the spider equivalent of having mirrors on the ceiling.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Northern Mankeys

It's often been said that Northern people are the salt of the earth. Granted, it's said by Northern people mainly. I'd guess that Southerners would also consider themselves as worthy of similar praise. It's not very often that these views are cross pollenated though.

I've always considered myself a Northerner, although officially I'm classed as a Midlander. I belong to that stretch of land North of the Watford gap and South of Meadowhall that neither North nor South wants to lay claim to.

I suppose I've always thought of myself as a Northerner as I've always worked South of where I live. Even if its no more than half an hour away my accent becomes accentuated against the more dulcit tones of the more Southern habitants and I feel different to them because of it. And then there's the mickey taking. Which makes me protect my roots.

Now I work in the North I am now being referred to as a Southerner, my accent is less brash than theirs and I'm not sure I like it. I'm fighting against their insistence.

There's nothing wrong with being a Southerner, but it's hard to change your opinion of where you believe your roots are after so many years.

Although after my experiences with my fellow Northerners in the past few weeks I might like to re-appraise my standing.

Firstly, I was sticking strictly to the 30mph speed limit whilst driving out of Manchester the other night. I was following the speed limit, mainly as I've been the recent lucky recipient of 6 penalty points for speeding and didnt want to get caught again by any crafty boys in blue and their box brownies.

I was obviously going too slow for the rabid girl behind, who let me know this fact as she blessed me with the Nescafe handwave as she passed. My first wanker sign as a driver. And from a woman driver. How ironic. I think it's my first anyway, I cant remember. Maybe I'm regularly subjected to it whilst I wind my merry oblivious way up and down the country.

Why do you always think of the best replies, or the best things to do when its too late to do them?

The second happened only a few days afterwards. I'm currently looking to buy a car and was searching the Autotrader website for the make that I quite liked, and saw the exact one. The Brucie bonus was that Autotrader measured it at a solitary 1 mile from my home. So I excitedly rang the number.

"Hello" came the disinterested greeting.
"Hello, Im ringing about the car advertised in Autotrader" I said
"Yeah?" replied the talkative one
I could see that this was going to be hard work
"Is it still for sale?" I asked
"No" grunted the ape. Capable only of one word replies it would seem. Im so proud to live near such esteemed human beings.
"Oh right, so you've sold it then?" I asked.

I didn't know if it had been taken off the market because of lack of interest or something. He would have said he'd sold it if he had and not let the conversation go on.

"Well yeah if it's not for sale" He lurched into life.

And just before I'd got chance to tell him to cheer up and take his bloody car out of the magazine if he'd sold it, or something that can't be repeated here I was greeted with the sound of: 'bzzzzzzzz'. Which was the most sense I'd had from the entire conversation.

He'd put the phone down on me. And spoken to me as though I was an idiot. The more I thought about it the more I was incensed. It took me all my willpower, which isnt much, to not ring him back. But I didn't. I just paced for about 10 minutes and counted to a very high number.

And it just goes to show. There's nowt so queer as folk. Even your own kin.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Plumbing the depths

On the subject of people not wanting to do jobs. How difficult is it to get a plumber to come and do an odd job nowadays?

As earlier readers will have garnered from my DIY post, I'm not blessed with a great amount of practicality. In fact, I'm rubbish. The shelves still aren't up by the way.

I could do with an outside tap putting on, I could spit more water than that which comes out of my hose when it's linked to an inside tap. Its getting embarassing coming last in the close's 'my hose squirts longer than yours' competition of a summers night. The neighbours talk about me. I'm an outcast.

I used to be someone, I want to hold my head up high in the garden again like in the summer of 99. I showed them then.

"It's easy to do" the show-offs tell me. Yeah sure it is Bob the Builder, you've not seen me fanny around with DIY. It's not easy for me to do.

I've rung around a few local plumbers and can't get anyone to come and do it. What is wrong with earning money in this day and age?

Some answer the phone, are honest and say:

"it's not worth my time. I'm busy and I can earn more doing more lucrative jobs in the time it would take me to do your tap"

It's a pain but fair enough. Thanks for enlightening me.

Some just dont return my calls when I leave messages. But the worst ones are the ones where you arrange for them to come and they just dont turn up at all. They then dont return the calls.

My Mum has had the same problem. She wants a new bathroom suite putting in, is 'suite' the acceptable word to use when describing bathroom furniture? She has been looking for someone for about 6 months. I would guess it's a pretty decent job for a plumber to do. But she's been let down a few times too - and I'm ashamed to admit that one of my friends has been guilty of letting her down also. Long haired girl.

She's experienced all of the problems I have, but the worst ones are the ones that bring brochures round and then dont return the calls.

Maybe the Watski's are just a scary family. "Jeez, I'm not going back to their mad houses".

She's now given up on the idea. And so have I.

I shall just have to remain the garden hose wooden spoon holder.

Monday, August 16, 2004

I 8 txt tlk

Some things in life are wrong. Marmite is one of them, sweetcorn is another. Frogs are especially wrong, and boats and aeroplanes I have trouble with too. Important things you see.

Add to that list Mums with mobile phones. Mums with mobile phones are wrong, Mums sending text messages is odd, but Mums with mobile phones sending text messages in text talk is mind blowing.

I should be at least thankful she's using it. We've only recently got her to switch the thing on anyway, she only ever switched it on when she wanted to use it. Which was never. And not much good for us when we were trying to contact her.

Text talk never really bothered me at first, now it's one of my greatest pet hates. The whole English language is going down the pan, it's no wonder teenagers want to get drunk and have babies. Their minds are scrambled with this new communication method.

I'd have expected my Mother of all people to not use this most primitive of languages. The family matriarch, the one woman that Watski and Watski Jnr look up to for moral guidance now stooping so low as to treat the English language with such blatant disrespect. How can I ever trust her recipes again?

Now I am forced to decipher text messages such as: "wht tme r u cming ova? lov mom", and "r u at wrk tdy?", etc. I'm going to have to see if I can borrow the Enigma decoder.

Exactly how much longer would it take to spell the words properly. Not much. It actually takes me longer to read that than it would if it were normal.

In 200 years time, the removal of vowels from words and overuse of the number 8 will be de riguer. It must be similar to the change from thee and thou to you and yours. I wouldn't have liked that too.

I blame Bernard Matthews - if it wasn't for him shortening ''beautiful' to 'bootiful' when talking about his bloody turkeys then none of this would have happened.

And 2, 4 and 8 would be able to sleep safely in the knowledge that they would still be used solely as numbers.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Monkey Trouble

What a story I picked up on earlier today.

If I were so inclined to take a prank to its limits, then I think that this is the kind of thing that I'd like to do.

The funniest thing is to imagine the conception of the idea and then the constituent parts of putting it together before doing it. Maybe someone just saw a gorilla suit in a fancy dress shop window and thought: "hang on, hmmmm.."

How funny would it be to see it though?

Now where's that fancy dress shop?

Hairy Mary

On the subject of hair, 'hairs' another great story I saw the other day.

Every paragraph contains a gem. The man was apparently 'the hairyest man in the world', although my Dad was away when they did the judging so it cant be too official. Now he's been overtaken by two others. Do you think he's upset about it?

The funniest thing is that there appears to be a scale of hairyness. A hairyness world ranking if you will. Is it an event at the Olympics?

I wonder where I am in the hairy standings?


Friday, August 13, 2004

Flower Power

There's a commotion in the office.

The boss has had some flowers delivered, she's not in at the moment so they're just sat innocently on her desk awaiting her return. If the flowers' intention was to sit quietly in the corner minding its own business then they were sadly mistaken - they might as well have a flashing light and siren attached.

They have succeeded in grabbing the attention of just about every female in the office in the way that only flowers and a new baby can.

As a result, an EGWOM (Extraordinary General Women Only Meeting) was hastily convened around the flowers and has been in session for the last 30 minutes or so.

A few flower related topics have been debated so far by the gathering. A vote was the first item on the agenda, on whether the card should be looked at - they decided not to sanction that one though, not without a few dissenting voices, and an attempted snatch.

They then speculated on the reason behind the flowers being there - anniversary was the most likely suggestion, the men chipped in with the theory that they're probably from her 'knock-off', a view which was immediately repelled by the flower huggers with a relish fuelled "typical!!".

The pollen was kicking in, and its a deadly cocktail when mixed with emotion. You could see the effect in their eyes.

This interruption then led to a discussion on their own personal experiences, starting with flowers, moving on to romance in general, before settling on men, or more accurately: the shortcomings of their men, and then men in general - which was a cue for the males on the periphery to quickly leave the immediate vicinity and relocate to a safe distance to talk about football around the coffee machine.

And not before time too. The disparaging comments were audible to all anyway.

Men should think of the effect on their fellow men before making such gallant gestures.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Its been bucketing it down in these parts for the last few days. The animals are beginning to pair up at the bus stop at the bottom of the street awaiting Noah's arrival. Although I'd guess that Noah has upgraded from an ark by now though, Arks are so BC.

He'd probably currently be driving a liner or something, with luxury compartments for each pair. All inclusive, fresh hay and stuff, room service, medical blocks and a gym. A mixture of private and publicly funded no doubt with: 'Noahs Ark - sponsored by Tesco' emblazoned along the side.

How did the animals decide which pair would go on the original ark? Did they draw lots? How did they know the pairs weren't related? Could they be sure that Noah wasn't a double agent working for the Japanese food industry? Would it be a waste of space if fish went? If he had his time again would he have taken a couple more Pandas now instead of the wasps.

So many questions, so few answers. We should be told.

Why animals anyway and not humans? It's ok filling a ship full of animals at the first sign of a drop of rain but what about the humans? I blame the animal lovers, I bet the RSPCA had a hand in it. Saving animals doesnt seem such a magnanimous idea when youre sat on the shore waving goodbye as the waters rise around you.

Although the rain makes a pleasant change from the heat of the weekend, it hasnt cleared the air, it's still very humid. Sleeping is uncomfortable, dreams turn into heat fuelled nightmares. There's just no happy medium. God its warm.

Do people talk louder in the heat? My bedroom windows are open all night to get some air and I swear people on the street outside now shout.

Heat does strange things to people. If it was a similar heat on holiday, then the only plan would be to shuffle down to the poolside with a towel over the shoulder for a day of taking it easy under a parasol, sipping on a cool drink and maybe a roll around in the pool every now and again.

Yet here, as soon as the temperature touches 90F people can't wait to get out in it and run around. As soon as its established the day is going to be a hot one then an outing is hurriedly planned:

"it is sunny therefore we must go outside in the full glare of the sun in the hottest part of the day, get burnt and then wish we hadnt"

Cars are filled and shopping centres and retail parks are crammed to capacity. Why are shopping centres the first things we head for in the heat?
"Its hot, it's hot. To the shops. Quickly."
Subsequently the roads are thronged with people getting hotter and angrier. The best weather forecasters seem to be the road workmen, as soon as the temperature gets a bit high then I always seem to be stuck in roadworks that weren't there before.

After the heat the next few days are spent in bed with a headache or suffering ridicule at work for having a face like a beetroot. Why on earth do we do it?

No wonder the Europeans think we're bonkers.

The phrase: 'mad dogs and Englishmen' has never been so apt.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Toad in the Hell

Whilst getting ready for work this morning I opened the back door to get a bit of fresh air into the house. As well as chucking it down a lot it has also been very humid the last few days. Although humidity is relative. Our 'unbearably humid' is probably a cool breeze for some poor South Asian country.

I then went over to get a drink at the tap and turned back to the door with the aim of standing on the step to cool down. To my horror a toad was sat looking up at me from the doormat.

Earlier readers may remember my frog phobia, well it hasn't abated. And it's not likely to.

Before I realised what I was doing I was aware of a sound coming from my mouth, a sort of shivery grunt. The kind of sound you make when its a bit chilly, but the shocked remix.

Natural, immediate reactions are great - they're free of any involvement from life conditioning, although I was glad there was no one else there to witness my weakness, other than the toad, who knew of it already.

I did manage to suppress the noise towards the end of the outburst as my conscience caught up with my reactions but the toad still had the psychological upper hand as he hadnt yet shown a weakness.

What the hell was it doing on the mat, in my house? Actually save the inquests for later, getting Mr Toad out of the house was of more pressing importance. It was facing inwards, so any spooking of the frog would mean that it would jump the way it was facing - further into the house - which would have turned a trauma into a major disaster. The Watski warning level was already flashing Orange.

Luckily, my inadvertent grunting spooked the toad enough to make it turn 180 degrees to face the outside world. It kind of hopped and spun round at the same time, I guessed this guy might be pretty cool in the toad world. It seemed he wanted to be in my house about the same as I wanted him to be in it.

Another quick movement was enough to persuade the frog to take one final jump to freedom and hide behind a plant pot on the patio. It takes slightly more time for the mental scars to heal though.

There was no way he could have been in the house overnight...unless. No I dont want to think about it. I did have the back door open for a few hours last night. No I dont want to think about it. Come to think of it, I did hear a mysterious rustle coming from the kitchen. No, please no.

Some people have child guards, I'm going to have to get a toad guard if Iwant the door open for any length of time from now on. I can hear the howls of laughter coming from the Pet shops now. The public ridicule, the shame.

It's more likely (Im trying to persuade myself) that he was seeking shelter from the rain up against the door, and he fell in when I opened it. Maybe he was listening to my conversations. What's the point in a toad sheltering from the rain? You're meant to like rain, it's like a human avoiding oxygen. You're an amphibian, act like one- now pull yourself together. Maybe he's a reluctant toad. Ostracised from the main group for being a weed, different. Allergic to water or something.

Maybe I was his only hope, and I turned him away.

Frogs and Toads continue to plague my life, they torment me beyond any reasonable levels of acceptance. Most people go through life living side by side with these things, hardly ever coming into contact with them. I'm continually harried and hassled by them.

Its a minefield. I need help.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Sign of the Times

There aren't many more quintessential English past-times than lying in bed on a Sunday morning with the morning papers spread all over the bed. Well maybe a few more.

Sunday morning is the only morning I have a paper delivered, it's my one of my little luxuries after a week at full tilt. I dont ask for much. But now this suburban bliss is to be brought to an end. My newsagent has informed me that deliveries of newspapers are to cease soon.

And the reason for this?

Because they cant find anybody to deliver the papers! Apparently young kids today dont want to deliver papers. It's too much like hard work, and they get their money easier ways thank you very much.

The paper boys/girls they do recruit give up after a few days and aren't reliable enough to build a service upon. So bang goes my dream of being sophisticated again. It'll never happen, the Gods have conspired to vomit on my dinner again. Curse you Lord!!

A paper round never did me any harm. Whats the matter with them? And Im sure it didnt do many of us harm. Well it seemt like it did at the time, but looking back it was character building. It was a good way of earning a little bit of money. I couldnt wait for the day when I had my own papers delivered by a scruffy little urchin like me. I had modest ambitions in life as you can see.

My round was the longest at the shop - 10 miles in total for £10 each week. Every morning without fail. I had the round of Kings, the one the others aspired to. Their piddly little rounds were only about £3 or £4 a week and they were all waiting for the day when I packed it in and they moved up the pecking order. We all queued up whilst we waited for the newsagent to 'mark' the papers. Mine was always the first to be done. I was the top paper dog.

And there was always a fair old list of wannabees, paper boy idols wanting to make the grade and be a paper boy at our shop.

I did the posh houses too which meant thicker, heavier papers and much better tips. Although Mum did help when the bike decided it needed a day off. She was a good un, cranking the Fiesta up for an early morning trip on a wet Wednesday. There were times when I used to cover other rounds too.

It was a great time in the summer though, biking round the countryside with my walkman on, taking a break on a seat half way round to read the magazines and getting to know my recipients. But it wasn't so great in the winter.

So I've been around a few other newsagents in the vicinity to see if I could use their services and they had all stopped delivering papers a while ago. Apparently I was one of the lucky ones. Old Bob the newsagent would be turning in his grave.

So that's that then. My tranquility disturbed again. If I want to read a paper in bed on a Sunday morning from now on, I've got to make a slightly longer journey than the one to the bottom of my stairs and back.

It's just not fair.

Monday, August 09, 2004


I think I'm being spied on. Or stalked. Or both.

It was intriguing at first, now it's getting worrying.

It all started about 3 or 4 months ago when I received my first letter from this person.

It said 'sorry we haven't seen you in a while'. Who hasn't seen me? What do they mean?

The next letter then said: 'need a helping hand?' Doing what? I suppose I could do with a bit of help come to think of it.

They seemed to know quite a bit about me, stuff that I didnt even know myself until they mentioned it. They know more about me than the people I know do, including my closest confidantes. Intimate things.

I think they're just softening me up for being blackmailed. There's going to be a demand soon, I'm sure of it.

The letters then arrived regularly every couple of weeks, progressing to: 'Are you feeling tired, have no time for yourself?

The thing is that I am, but didn't realise it until it was drawn to my attention. Now I close the curtains whenever I'm in the house, shred my mail and keep the doors and windows locked.

Now they're asking me whether I'm: 'lacking energy, stressed, feeling unfit or can't sleep'.

I am all of the above. How do they know these most private things about me? I'm worried. I think I may go to the police.

I've only one clue about their identity.

They sign the letter 'Gym'.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Keep it in the family

Whoa fella!

One thing led to another? How? There shouldn't have even been a 'thing' to lead to another 'thing' in the first place.

There are easier ways to cure panic attacks arent there?

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Fish face

Tuna-ing my radio, i hit a fish today as I was driving near a school crossing.

So I pulled on to the hard shoal-der to ring my insurance company. They refused to pay out because they said it was an 'act of cod'. They didnt need to carp on about it. I fancied buying a Motor-pike anyway.

There's absolutely no porpoise to this post at all. I did it just for the halibut.


Friday, August 06, 2004

Longing for coffee

Being as it was a nice day today, I thought I'd have a walk out of work at lunch time to get some fresh air away from the desk.

I had no friends and I'd previously noted a little coffee shop over the road with tables outside that I could look sophisticated at whilst sipping a coffee and reading a paper.

I'd imagine people would be commenting on my sophistication, the men would want to be me and the women would want to be with me. They'd be guessing at which Southern Mediterranean country I'd be visiting from.

The only paper they had left was The Sun.

I sat down with it and a guy with coffee stains all down his top came over to serve me. I was guessing that he'd had a bad day.

"A coffee please mate" I always like to be friendly.

"White?" He asked.

"Yes please"

"A long white one?" How rude. I nearly stood up and walked out.


"Would you like a long coffee Sir"

"A what? A long coffee? Did you say long?" I had to ask him to say it again.

"Yes Sir" Now he was looking at me as though I was the idiot. I wasnt the one trying to sell drinks by the length.

Coffee? Long? Long coffee? What can be long about a drink other than the length of time to drink it? If I said yes would he come struggling out of the back with a great vat of coffee that would take me forever to drink? Do they have a coffee mug shaped like a sundae dish but longer?

Rivers are long, roads are long. How can coffees be measured in length? Surely we should be talking about depth if anything.

If he found it necessary to talk about measurements then he could have said something like:

"Would you like a deep coffee Sir?"

That would have been a more apt question when dealing with coffee than 'long'. Or am I missing something? Yes I would like a deep coffee if thats what you mean.

I ordered it out of wide eyed curiosity. I obviously wasnt as sophisticated as I thought I was. I couldnt concentrate on my paper for thinking about what I'd be faced with when he brought my coffee to me.

What a disappointment when it arrived. It was the same as any other coffee.

But it cost more. I'd been had.

Now I know why there were coffee stains all over him.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Road to nowhere

CJ and I live quite a way from each other, around 30 miles, and it’s a journey that can take anything between 45 minutes and an hour.

For the most part it’s quite a nice, scenic, countryside journey. Especially in the day. The route takes me past the outer edges of Sherwood Forest, past Newstead Abbey, over the River Trent into the Vale of Belvoir. It truly is one of the nicest parts of this country.

It seems ironic that the best views in the country are most often viewed when travelling by car. The views from the Yorkshire stretch of the M1 are beautiful too, yet hardly anyone would have seen them if it wasn’t for a concrete monstrosity carrying 4 zillion cars a day straight through it.

I digress. By evening the view transforms into a far more sinister place, it's a much more spooky place to drive. The nice, gentle country back lanes of day change into the dangerously dark lonely trails of night.

Last night I was travelling from my house to CJ’s at around 10pm with my music on loud and my headlights on full. I know the road well so I know exactly where night-time leaves its sharp twists, turns and blind bends.

As i journeyed into the middle of the darkest, loneliest part of the journey, the part where I emerge from the forest and am faced with a good few miles of empty roads surrounded by nothing more than fields, I spotted something not quite right.

I had just taken a right hand 90 degree bend in a fast, unlit part of the route, when in the field just behind the thick bushes to my left I thought I could see a pair of red lights, not horizontal to each other but vertical. Thats's odd, i thought.

As my speed took me past, I looked in my mirror and saw a pair of vertical white lights at about the same place as I saw the red lights. It then hit me that it might be a car that had misjudged the corner and ended up on its side in a field. It certainly looked that way.

I stopped in the middle of the road and tried to comprehend what I'd just seen, to try and work out what was happening and to think about what I should do. Was it a house? It can’t be. It must be a car. Can it be anything else? No, surely not. Was I sure? Should I ignore it? Then I wondered how I’d feel if I, or anyone close to me was in a car that had crashed and someone stopped then drove off. I would feel so guilty for leaving someone injured, but I didn’t even know if it was a car or what it was. What is the done thing in these circumstances?

So I rang 999 to report it, to at least get an ambulance on its way if there were people injured.

Ringing 999 is a stressful experience in itself, as a youngster not calling 999 if it’s not an emergency is drilled into you as much as calling 999 is in an emergency. Fortunately it’s not a procedure that people have to execute with regularity, but the downside is that you become unfamiliar with the protocol. Whatever the situation is, its hard not to feel as though you’re putting someone out, especially as you are spoken to as though it’s 1 in the afternoon and you’ve just woken up some night shift worker with a wrong number.

The phone was ringing for what seemed like ages, then was answered. A voice said something that I can’t remember, but I know I ignored it. I just launched into a description of what I’d seen. I then became aware of him trying to interrupt me, he then succeeded.

“Which service do you require?” he said, about 30 seconds in.

I hadn’t taken a breath.

“Oh, sorry, err, all of them….err.. no, no, err ambulance and err Police and err…I think that’s it”.

It felt like I was ordering a Chinese. I nearly asked them to bring a bag of prawn crackers too.

I was then put through to another operator who must double up as a police dog in his spare time, he was barking questions at me like a dog on a sponsored bark – it suddenly didn’t seem an emergency after all. I could never hoax, I’m petrified speaking to these people when it’s a real emergency never mind a hoax one.

As I was explaining what I’d seen to the operator I realised how vague I was being and how little information I was giving.

“I might have seen a car off the road but I’m not sure, and I’m not entirely sure where I am”.

Then it occurred to me that my eyes could have been playing tricks on me, and that I could be in a bit of trouble if I’d summoned an ambulance and the police into the middle of nowhere on the whim of my sub-conscious.

It also occurred to me that the in the operators eyes it was just as likely that this was a crank call as it was an honest one. The more I wanted to sound sincere the more stuttering I did.

So I told the operator that I couldn’t be sure what had happened or what the object I'd seen was but that I’d go and have another look and ring back if it was nothing. That should save me from a harrowing court case and life in prison. Then it took ages to describe where I was, I was so far from nowhere. Any injured person would have recovered and returned to work in the time it took.

I put the phone down and looked in the mirror again, the lights were now gone. It was total darkness, no light whatsoever. My mind went into overdrive. I was going to be arrested for wasting police time, publicly flogged as a hoaxer. Should I flee the scene? Or should I hang around and take my punishment like a man?

So I reversed back to where I thought I'd seen the lights. You have to remember that we are in the pitch black here, darker than a dark thing on a dark night. On a dark country lane with no-one around and hardly any passing cars. I wound the window down and tried to hear anything - no sound. I pipped my horn, but again no response.

So I turned the car around, went back on myself to before the sharp bend and then turned the car round again so I was facing the way of my original direction before I saw the lights. The objective was to shine my full beam where I thought I'd seen the car. I couldn’t see anything.

Then I noticed that the undergrowth had been disturbed and there was a track of mud leading off the road just past the bend, so I pointed my beam in that direction. About 40 yards away in the distance I could just make out the top of something, but bright lights on an object with a background of total darkness distorted the object and I couldn’t makeout what it was – I just knew it was an object. It could have been the top of a car on its side, the top of a shed, a den or anything.

I know it seems wrong, but I was hoping it was a car so that I wouldn’t have to call 999 back and tell them that all I’d seen was a runaway cow shed pretending to be a car.

I got out of the car, then realised that it was pitch black, silent, very,very spooky and that I couldn’t see further than about 5 yards in any non-car lit direction. So I got back in and locked the doors.

What do you do in this situation? Do you go over and try and help? regardless of any danger, I didn’t know what help I could be anyway. And I didn’t even know if anything was there. Do you just carry on with your journey safe in the knowledge that the emergency services are on their way? What exactly do you do?

I then became aware of the top of a persons head poking up against what I now could make out as a window, I still didn’t know what it was a window of though, this person was looking as though he was trying to avoid being seen because he was slowly raising his head then quickly dropping it when he thought he'd gone too far. He had, about 40 yards too far.

I was really scared now. So I wound the window down and shouted something, I’m not sure what it was though. The windowy thing and its surrounding raised and someone pulled themself up out of it. I could now see that it was a car on its side and this person was getting out of the car door which was now the top of the car.

I could make out that the person was a young lad, he jumped down from the top of the car, swore at me, staggered around for a second or two, which could have been due to his consciousness or the uneven ground he was in, then disappeared. I don’t know where to as there were no paths and I was on the only main road and he definitely didn’t go along that.

I just didn’t know what to do, I just knew that it wasn’t especially safe for me to be about, so I kind of circled the area in the car until the ambulance arrived about 10 minutes later. The fact that the paramedics were reluctant to go anywhere near the car until the police got here made me feel much better about my choice to not do anything to aid the cars occupant(s), fortunately the police arrived 2 minutes later.

The 4 policemen then lit up the night sky with their powerful torches. Birds started singing because they thought dawn had broken. They then went up to the car and found nobody inside, which also made me feel better, but they could tell that whoever its occupant(s) were had been injured because of the blood in the car.

They then came back to speak to me, I hadn’t seen what had happened and I didn’t really have a good description of the only occupant I saw either so I wasn’t much use to them. So they told me to be on my way. I don’t know what happened after that, but the car has now gone.

Thinking about it as I carried on my journey I realised that if the need had come I couldn’t prove any innocence of my own. For all the police knew I could have been racing this car, been an accomplice in its route to the field or whatever. Fortunately they believed me as they let me carry on. Maybe I was building my part in the adrenaline fuelled aftermath.

It was too late though, Investigator Watski was in session and I'd already deduced that the young lad must have been either a joy rider, a drunk owner, or just someone who had panicked and ran off. It also became obvious that this person ran off after realising that the bright light shining on him was the car of an idiot and not the waiting arms of Mr Policeman.

After arriving at CJ’s house I realised a few things that I wish I’d realised at the time: the first one was that I had my digital camera in the car so I could have taken photos of the whole situation that the police could use.

The second was that I had been wearing odd shoes throughout the entire episode. Do odd things happen to you when you're wearing odd things?

The third was that they'd forgotten the prawn crackers.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Training Day

Twas a company 'away day' yesterday. We were off site in a converted hotel bedroom for most of the working day being spoken at by some self important training and development consultant. Are these people born clutching half a bag of flipchart pens?

The department I am employed within of the new company i joined a few months ago has a bit of an image problem. Oh good. Did they think employing me would help? If so, they were mistaken. It's nice to walk into a new job and be told that. No matter, we were here today to put it right, in the presence of someone who wouldnt know an image if it sprayed him purple.

So we arrived at business cliche central primed to come up with an 'action plan' to enable us to 'tick all the boxes' and rectify this problem. They were all there in the room: The negative Harrys complaining about everything, check. the quiet-as-a-mouse Tinas standing in the corner talking to nobody, check. The arse-licking Delias pouring coffee for and sniffling round the boss, check. The positive Timothys feeling energised and challenged, check. Far-too-honest Harriet, check. Sarcastic Terry, check. I'm not changing, i've been here too long Barry, check. And always-late Samantha, check, eventually.

And then through the door slimed Simon, our trainer for the day, check.

Do all training people have afflictions? Most of the ones i've been under have some sort of tick or behavioural twitch which makes focusing on what they're saying very difficult, as you're either watching them very closely or looking away for fear of saying something you shouldnt. Although not focusing on what they're saying isn't such a problem as its mainly 'think outside the box' 'i'm going to car park that', 'shall we check in?' or other rubbish. Is there a shop where you can buy facilitators, or hire them?

Simon carried his bag of what-nots in with him and clicked his fingers and instantly the flip charts were standing, the projector screen was up and the room was set to stun. Which was a bit galling as i'd had the flip chart stand in a half nelson for about 5 minutes and thought that i was near a submission.

We all sat round in our group drinking coffee and making forced conversation, aren't the bacon sandwiches always late and always not worth the wait? Then before we had finished the biscuits he was off, there was no stopping Simon, there were warm ups, check-ins, breakouts, briefings until before we knew it lunch arrived.

Simon slimed around the group as we picked at the sandwiches which seemed to have at least one ingredient in them that all of us didnt like with the lettuce available nowhere else other than hotel buffets, whilst the carbs free people tucked into their sandwich boxes full of health.

Over the other side of the room the the smokers skipped lunch and risked their lives by hanging out of a window for a quick drag. Which seemt a bit ironic - almost killing yourself so that you can kill yourself. Hey, but i'm no preacher.

After lunch was the 'graveyard shift', so Simon had a little trick up his sleeve for ensuring we didnt fall to sleep. I was too transfixed on his twitch to let that happen. But Simon had us holding flipchart pens between the palms of our hands - is there nothing that this man cannot do with flipchart pens?

Then it was the afternoon session. And time to pull all the things we'd talked about in the morning together. Which nowadays consists of one thing:

If i hear Greece beating Portugal in the final of Euro 2004 as a great analogy for teamwork again then i will seriously beat someone over the head with a projector.

"Did anybody see what happened in the final of the European soccer 2004 thats just happened?" Oh God, another part-time football supporter. There's nothing worse for a football supporter than being talked to about football by someone who doesnt understand what they are talking about. I admit it, im a football snob. No, i really am.
No answer.
"Portugal all had their star individual players, what did they think they were going to do?" asked Simon.
"win" answered eager Timothy.
"Thats right Tim, but what about Greece?" countered Simon, there was no need for the rest of us.
"Well they didnt have the individual players but they had a team plan" Tim spewed.
"So Portugal had the better players and Greece had a team plan. And which team kicked the winning goal?"
"Good Tim, so what does that tell us?" set up Simon
"It tells us that we might be good as individuals but we're always better with teamwork"
"Good Tim, remember: there's no 'I' in Team". slimed Simon as looked at us for the signs of thanks for improving our lives immeasurably. While we communally wished for lightning to strike.

I find that the best things about these days is that you get to go home earlier. Before you kill someone.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

CJ's gone mad

Im getting slightly worried about CJ, she's gone a bit clumsy.

For example, last week she trapped her finger in a car door. Not too much to earn the clumsy label you might think, although all credit to her - she did it in style. The judges were awarding 10's for artistic excellence as the car door shut fully with her finger still in it.

It was some feat actually as it was the hand she was slamming the car door with, although i could testify to her hand speed. Cue big, black, builders finger - she just paints the rest of her nails purple now to blend in. It gives her some pain but painting 9 nails instead of 10 gives you extra time to get ready - so she's viewing it as a positive.

'Clumsy day' arrived last week though where she proceeded to scald herselfwith hot water when she threw a towel over her shoulder that had inadvertently dipped in boiling water, then proceeded to smash a bottle of wine after dropping the bag it was in - this was particularly distressful for her and then she finally broke a wine glass, this may have been in temper at the previous accident but she's not talking.

It's getting to the point where I'm scared to leave anything sharp near her. Its like having a child.

This week she is sporting not one, but two scalds on her forehead, where she has branded herself with the hair straighteners. Did she not learn after the first accident? I think she's becoming immune to pain.

Anyone got a padded cell?

Monday, August 02, 2004


Already caught with his trousers down a couple of times in recent months, and with his latest shenanigans helping to tear the FA apart from within, 'Knobber' Sven was this weekend packed off as the FA's representative to a 4-team European Football tournament.

The venue?


'D'Oh!'. I await the headlines.

Freezer Hell

I'm never making that mistake again. If i mention that I'm going to defrost the freezer again then please remind me that its a bad idea.

I noticed a few days ago that the freezer was becoming a bit of an icehole, there was more ice in the freezer than there was room for food that requires freezing, and as a consequence sourcing food within said freezer was becoming a bit of a pain. Snowmen were knocking on the door asking for refuge.

I remember my Mum defrosting the freezer regularly when I used to live at home and dont remember there ever being any great fuss, other than a day of eating food, so i thought i'd give it a go. How hard can it be? Switch power off and make sure all the melting fluid has enough recepticles to flow into. Job done. Or so I thought.

The plug to the freezer was switched off and was left limp of power overnight, with towels and trays underneath aiming to catch all the melting ice. I didnt expect any problems. How wrong could I be?

I should have known that Mums make things look easier than they really are, there should be some sort of disclaimer that comes with childhood that states 'some tasks that Mums perform may seem easier than they actually appear - please seek qualified help before embarking on anything you've ever seen your Mother do'. Mum is short for 'StuntMum'.

I awoke to the kitchen floor awash with water. All of the trays, buckets and towels were full to the brim, everything else was sodden. Where was all this water coming from - as much ice as there was in the freezer it still couldnt have made this amount of fluid water surely. I thought about checking for burst pipes before tackling the overflow.

The kitchen is now still drying out. Next time i wont bother. Or I'll get my Mum to help.