Thursday, September 30, 2004

What did I say?

I've been using a new stat counter for the last few weeks on the recommendation of Mick.

It's very clever, for me anyway. It might be really basic and old hat but it looks clever to me and has the tell tale sign of cleverness: lots of numbers. It tells you all sorts of stuff, the countries that visitors come from (hello to my Hawaiian and Portuguese visitors, I do do visits), how they got here, etc.

It also tells you how long people spend on the site.

Should I be bothered that 75% of my visitors spend less than 5 seconds here?

Is it something I said..or didn't say?

Note to self: get funnier.


What do you do when what you do is not what you want to do?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Phone Pest

How infuriating are you? Not you, but you. Yes you, you stood next to my desk chattering away on your mobile phone. Are you meaning to be this annoying or is it an accident?

What is wrong with your own area? Why, when your phone rings do you feel the need to get up and wander round the office so that everyone is disturbed by you and your phonecall? Do you not want to disturb the people in your area? Do I have a 'disturb me' look on my face?

I dont want to hear your conversations, you're putting me off. I don't need your help in being put off, I'm an Olympic short concentration span Gold Medallist as it is without your assistance. So go and speak somewhere else, preferably at your own desk.

All suggestions for painful death for fellow office workers welcome. I like water and bare wires.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Camping Gas

Well camping's changed hasn't it?

I've never been that enamoured with camping before, it all seemt a bit too much trouble especially as I like my home comforts a bit too much. My abiding memories of the 3 times I've been camping previously are of terrible trouble getting the tent up, having almost no sleep at all down to the sheer uncomfortableness of it all and shivering in the cold, and that's before you get started on the shaved eyebrows, face art and missing clothes that were the stock-in trade of camping with a bunch of my schoolmates.

No more. As with most things time brings ease and aids. And maturity, which is overrated in life generally, but not when it comes to camping.

The tent? A 2 minute job. My kind of work. Sit back and watch it put itself up just about. Air beds? Self inflating too. It all was a good job seeing as the wind was a bit strong and we'd got there late due to the incessant traffic along Norfolks roads. Pillows and blankets completed the luxury air tight sleeping cabin. From car boot to habitable in 15 minutes with not one bead of sweat or a cross word exchanged. And a fine nights sleep in prospect too.

That is until the next morning.

The problem is that the majority of camping people are the outdoorsy up at first light kind of people. The kind that at home have walked the dog, fetched the paper and cleaned the car by the time you've finished dreaming about scoring the winning goal in the cup final. The ones who have done a half marathon in the dark as you blearily undraw the curtains. The cheerful kind who sing "morning" at you as you emerge blinking from the tent. That type.

7.30am saw the start of the banging and shouting and kids playing. 8.30am and it was a full-on country fayre around the tent. The decision to get up wasn't a voluntary one.

I stumbled off down to the showers and saw a shaven headed guy in our group washing at the sink. I started chatting away to him as he had his back to me, but he was less than talkative for some reason, I was lucky if I got a grunt back. Maybe he wasn't a morning person I thought. That was until the guy that was really with us walked through the door and I realised I was chatting away to a complete stranger that looked like my friend.

Why is it that you always bump into the people you try to avoid?

I enjoyed it so much I'm off to do it again next weekend.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Fantasy Pub

On much ligher note, I want one of these..
I'm sad that i haven't got one.

I wish I'd thought of it.

I'm guessing that they wouldn't have a dartboard.

Watski will be investigating Autumn camping in Norfolk this weekend. I might not be back.

Kenneth Bigley

Whatever we do today, we all can't fail to be moved by the situation with Kenneth Bigley. It's hard to imagine being in a worse situation than this poor man and his family.

Imagine being in his situation for a second, then imagine it being for a week that he has been subjected to this ordeal, imagine the mental torture he is suffering at the moment. Imagine what is going through his head knowing that he could suffer a horrifying death at the whim of these people any second, imagine being in a situation where you are faced with death, imagine not knowing if the 'click' you always hear is an impending gunshot, imagine that your very being depends on other people, imagine wanting one last second with your family and not being able to have it.

Imagine the hell that his family are going through, imagine the stress and the strain, imagine them wanting to let him know that they love him and are with him, imagine not being able to get that message through, imagine how they are feeling as hope slips by, imagine how helpless they feel, imagine how you'd feel if a loved ones life was being played out to the watching world, imagine how it feels to have the life of a loved one dependent on people who are sleeping at night, imagine how it feels to have your loved one stripped of any dignity.

Its unimaginable.

If these people believe that what they are doing is right and Gods will then why wear balaclavas to hide their indentity? If, in some perverted way it is Gods will then they should be proud to be associated with carrying it out.

Hiding their faces to protect themselves from being identified shows that these people know they aren't carrying out God's will and shows them for what they really are: cowards and criminals.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ferry Sad

The ex-wife of singer Bryan Ferry has vowed "to bring the government down" after being sentenced for her part in last weeks Fox-hunting riots.

Tony Blair is reportedly quaking in his boots, and it's no wonder - this is an excerpt from Wednesdays morning meeting with his secretary:

"So what have we got this morning then?"

"Well Prime Minister, there's the Kenneth Bigley situation, there's the Iraq crisis, PM's question time, education, health, relations with the US....oh and Bryan Ferry's ex-missus has vowed to bring the government down".

"You what? This is serious. Cancel all my meetings, move to code red and man the lifeboats"

There seems to be no stopping this woman.

"We can bring this government down. Brighton is next. We will keep fighting" She slurred.

Quite what Brighton has done to incur her wrath is anyones guess. I hope the people of Brighton are prepared. Who knows who will be next?

If she's really serious about bringing the government down then she's going to have to do 'more than this' and step up her campaign I reckon, which so far consists of the very serious offence of parking her car on a street and refusing to move it. A tactic guaranteed to get straight to the heart of any government. Rumours are that singing with loud voices might be the next tactic or co-ordinated wax jacket wearing.

It's no wonder her son is such a loon, I bet Bryans glad they didn't 'stick together'.

Pet Diaries

Following yesterdays pet experiences, I was sent this by a friend and thought it was too good to keep to myself...


DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favourite chair... must try this on their bed.

DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm.
Not working according to plan.

DAY 768 - I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick minds could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.

DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odour of the glass tubes they call "beer.." More importantly I overheard that my confinement was! due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured.
But I can wait, it is only a matter of time...........


Day number 180

Day number 181

Day number 182
1:30 pm - ooooooo. bath. bummer.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Lazy bum

I'm willing to be proved wrong here. And that's not something you hear me say often apparently, so CJ says. But she's wrong..

..I have seen a contender for 'laziest arse ever' tonight. We have quite a few examples in Mansfield alone, so all you wannabee Mansfields ought to get into shape.

Anyway, this man..or woman, I didn't see what gender they were although I'd guess this behaviour would be male typical, had parked the car on a grass verge of the country lane I use for the last stretch of my journey home, and was sat in the car with the window down holding the dog lead out of the window 'exercising' the dog.

He had even parked on the other side of the road, facing the oncoming traffic so that he wouldn't be inconvenienced by having to move to the passenger seat. The best thing was that he'd got a fag on too.

There was no rain, the weather was perfectly clement for the time of year. The bloke was just being lazy, the poor dog probably wondered what was happening. Maybe it doesn't get taken out very often so was glad of the treat.

Hope the dog peed on his wheels and wiped its bits on the seat. Lazy arse.

How to give the cat a tablet

Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding tablet in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop tablet into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

Retrieve tablet from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy tablet away.

Take new tablet from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push tablet to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

Retrieve tablet from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop tablet down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another tablet from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for glueing later.

Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put tablet in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

Check label to make sure tablet not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another tablet.

Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick tablet down throat with elastic band.

Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Throw Tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat.

Take last tablet from foil-wrap.
Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push tablet into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash tablet down.

Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes tablet remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

Arrange for RSPCA to collect cat and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How to give the dog a tablet

Wrap it in bacon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Car Wars II - The Return

As if to illustrate my point entirely. A few lorry drivers decide to have a bit of a coming together with a few cars on the M1 last night, fortunately they had the good sense to save it until I had completed my return journey. I imagine them looking at their watches waiting for me to scoot past, then giving the thumbs up for action.

After lots of screeching, smoke and crunching of metal the M1 resembled a battlefield and as a consequence was entirely closed from 7 last night, it isn't expected to open until lunchtime today.

The upside of this great drama is that I have not been able to get into work today. I'm not hacking my way up the country on backed up A roads, the real clincher for me not trying though was when one of the diversion routes was planned through Chesterfield. No thank you.

Long may the drivers of this country collide for my benefit.


Monday, September 20, 2004

Car Wars

Two and a half hours!! Two and a half bloody hours to get to work this morning!!

What is so wrong with people that they can't manage to drive a few yards without banging into one another. How hard is it to drive on the motorway without feeling the need to veer into another vehicle? It should be the easiest road to drive on, we're all going the same way.

And why do it on the busiest part of the day. If people have the need to fulfill an urge to crash headlong into another road user then they ought to at least be considerate enough to do it at night when there aren't as many people about.

Maybe they do it on purpose.

"You know what Maureen, I'm feeling especially mischievous today, I think I might nip on the M1, drive into a lorry and cause a big jam. I'll have my dinner when I get back. See you later"

Or is it a new form of global terrorism? 'Reckless car-drivers', with the sole aim of grinding the highways and by-ways of this country to a standstill.

Can't they set up their own clubs to do this? I'm sure there are other like minded individuals around to be able to start a new past-time, the stock car racing fraternity would welcome them with open arms.

It wouldn't be so bad, but the bump was on the other side of the road. Yet my side had the queue. Then two cars on my side of the road became so enamoured with the crash on the other side of the road that they drove into each other in a selfless, empathetic act that brought a tear to my eye and a curse to my lips.

What is so spectacular about two cars bumping together that people feel they owe it themselves to slow themselves and everybody else down to have a look.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Golf Cors

Woo-hoo..... get in da hole....... yee haw........ USA, USA, USA....... da man.......wahayyyyyyyy...... go get em Tiger........ wooooh....... yayyyyyyy....... USA, USA......Wahayyyy...... yeahhhhhhhh..... great shat....... da man....

This weekend I will mainly be watching the Ryder Cup.

Friday, September 17, 2004


Learning a new job is quite a challenge, there are many things to learn and it takes a while to come up to speed with the way certain things are in a different place.

And then there's the technology. Earlier readers may recall my technology issues.

I think I must have perfected the art of looking as though I completely understand everything people try to teach me, this can be the only explanation for no software trainer ever actually checking my understanding of what they've just taught. If ever Homer Simpson was taught software packages then I imagine that I would be a lot like him in the training course:

Thinking: *Oooooh biscuits...mmmmmm....nice chocolate cookies....could do with some more though...this coffee is a bit lukewarm...wonder what's for dinner....I could do with a pee....hope we don't finish too late...lunch already?*

I seem to have my nodding knowingly act off to a tee. It's completely a facade, inside I'm thinking: 'I haven't a clue what you've just talked about' whilst planning how to do my job without having to resort to using this software. Externally I'm already an expert.

Maybe they know I dont know and are setting me adrift purposely.

As a consequence I now have lots of passwords to learn, I have one to get in to my laptop, one for my emails, and anything up to half a dozen for the different software packages I need to use. It's a lot for a guy with serial memory loss to take.

Writing passwords down is a sure sign of weakness at work, a stigma - once you've been seen writing a password down then you are automatically perceived to be at the bottom of the food chain. Me? I don't need to write them down, of course I can remember them, how hard can it be?

I thought this password required software was down, for 2 days I couldn't get in. I kept typing my log-in then my password and it kept telling me that there was an error with the I.D. Obviously the system must be down, I thought.

On the third day I tried again, still no access. So I took a deep breath and rang the help desk.

A pleasant lady answered the phone. Which was a welcome change from the fruit I normally get. Her voice was pleasant anyway, she may be the devil in a dress, hated by everyone in her office and be on the verge of being declared bankrupt whilst losing her house, husband and kids to the floozy down the road. If she was facing this then her voice didn't betray it. All credit to her.

I told her my problem and she asked me for my log-in. Once told, she replied:

"that can't be your log-in, is that the password?"

"errr, yes"

The realisation then hit me that I'd been entering my log-in and password the wrong way round. Probably about the same time as it hit her as she then started talking to me slower and in shorter words. I'd moved from needing software help to just needing help.

I gave her my log-in, it was futile, we both knew what the problem was. I thought about hanging up, pretending I'd got the wrong number, I didnt. She dragged it out for all it was worth.

I should write stuff down more.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Fox Hunting

As much as I've tried to steer away from it, I can't help but write a few words about the fox hunting furore thats happened over the last few days.

Now, I'll nail my colours to the mast here and now: I dont believe in hunting with dogs. Believe me, I've thought about it. It's not because I'm working class, or because I'm not from the countryside and certainly not because I don't understand a different way of life. It's plainly and simply because I've yet to see an argument to convince me that killing a fox with a Dog is necessary.

It comes down to 3 basic questions. I dont believe this is simplifying it, although the debate does need simplifying.

The first question for me is: Is fox hunting a sport, or is it a necessary act? I used to work near Melton Mowbray, long considered the hunting centre of the UK and CJ still lives near there. I have seen and been held up by enough hunts to know that the people participating in it aren't doing something that is purely a chore or something that is a service to the countryside, they are also doing it for pleasure and entertainment. It's hand in hand if anything. If it was simply a job to be done, then why the hoardes of spectators or why the dressing up? Setting animals on other animals with gory death an unavoidable end result solely on one side, while
people watch is not a sport. It just isn't. If the argument is that it's a sport then banning it is a no-brainer.

We'll assume then that it is a neccesary act. Therefore the second question must be: does the fox population actually need controlling?

Foxes may be vermin and may be a pest, but lets understand that it's their nature to pillage. As it is a Cats nature to catch Birds. Foxes may need controlling but surely there are better ways to deal with it than chasing them through the countryside until they collapse with fatigue only to be disembowelled by the closely following pack of dogs. There simply has to be a better way than that.

I dont know if the population does need controlling, foxes don't affect my life but I can imagine that there are some people whose life is made worse by these animals. Some reports say the population does need culling, some reports say the opposite. The slant all depends on the sponsors of the reports. But the crux of the matter is that if the fox population doesn't need controlling then there is absolutely no need for this pastime.

Lets assume again that it does need controlling, so the final question asks whether hunting with Dogs is cruel. If the answer is No then let it carry on by all means. But if the answer is yes then it has to be banned. This is the fundamental question. I find it hard to believe that it isn't cruel.

The Countryside Alliance will tell you that people will lose their jobs as a result of a ban on fox hunting, that Dogs will need to be put down and that people's way of life will be altered. This is all very sad and I sympathise with the people involved. But it is plainly and simply a matter of what is right and what is wrong, you cannot let something that is wrong carry on because of the consequences of stopping it. Yes, bear them in mind and make allowances for a smooth transition, but still stop it all the same. It's like not stopping capital punishment because the hangman will lose his job. You just cannot operate a society like that. What is right must be King.

People will try and muddy the waters and change the debate to a Town v country debate or a class war or a personality battle. It's none of these things, it's about right and wrong in a civilised society. They will also bring up the Fishing argument, ban one and ban them all they say, that may be the case in the future. They may also mention that the government should have other priorities, but lets not forget that it was part of the mandate on which this government was elected on. They may mention that it's taking valuable parliamentary time up, but remember that the Conversatives have consistently stalled the bill in the past by submitting numerous amendments.

This has now become democracy in action, it is the will of the people and the will of the people we elect to make our decisions. None of the rhetoric and periphery arguments must be allowed to detract from the main argument or move the debate off course.

Stories you'd like to see - No. 1

In a break from the regular tradition of British Law and Order, police have released the 8 pro-hunting demonstrators arrested for breaking into parliament yesterday without charge.

The downside is that they have taken them to a field, dressed them up in fox outfits and given them 10 minutes to get as far as they can before the dogs are released.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Lorries under bridges

I've seen some close shaves this last couple of days, and I'm not talking about that late night programme I watched on Channel 4 whilst CJ was away. Ahem..

I'm doing a lot of driving with my new job so am probably seeing this a lot more than normal but some lorries get really close to hitting motorway bridges. I've never really noticed this before, but now I've noticed it once it seems to happen quite regularly.

I was so sure that a car transporter I was following the other day was going to hit one that I started braking to give myself half a chance if it did hit.

Now that I've noticed it I'm always looking out for it and some of them do literally miss some bridges by inches. Its getting a regular occurence, how some of them don't hit I'll never know.

Is there some British standard height of a motorway bridge so that people who load lorries know they shouldn't go above? Or should I just not think about it?


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Blast from the past

The lady who lives next to CJ's parents passed away a few weeks ago, I never spoke to her although she used to wave at me through the window when I used to pick CJ up. I think she was waving at me, maybe I was doing something wrong.

Her house was one of those time warp houses, all the fixtures, fittings and the decor was almost exactly how it was when it was a bustling family house all those years ago. She outlived her husband quite considerably. The house didnt include any of the modern gadgets we have to make our lives easier. I imagine that she liked what she had and knew how to use them, no matter that modern technology may have made her life much less difficult.

At the bottom of the garden was a very tall tree, towering above the house which was the Christmas tree her and her husband had from her very first Christmas in the house. She was a very frail lady who very rarely left the house, she had no need to as CJ's parents picked up her shopping for her and took it round once a week.

She only had one daughter, now elderly herself, who popped round to CJ's parents house just after the old lady passed away to thank them for their help.

She also said that they'd be putting the house on the market:

"...but dont worry, we wont sell it to any blacks"

It's a very sad world we live in.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Sign of the times

You know the kind of establishment you're in is a bit special when a guy turns up in his helicopter, parks it on the outfield of the cricket pitch on the front lawn and nips inside for a spot of lunch. And nobody bats an eyelid. Everyone acts as if it's something that happens every day.

Apart from the flip chart twitchers in the library. We were all hoping it would be someone famous, it wasn't. I'm not sure what I was disappointed with more; that it wasnt someone famous or that the guy jumping out of the chopper was about the same age as me. I bet they called him Sir, I would call him 'sonny'. It put a halt to our proceedings for a good 20 minutes anyway. Which I should thank him for.

In addition to my bag carrying butler, at lunch I was also accompanied by a whole army of lunch butlers. It was almost like my chair had 3 or 4 pairs of arms that would appear over my shoulder at intervals to service my luncheon needs.

I could tell I was going to have to keep my wits about me here, the only other time Ive been so alert at lunch is when Grandma is about. Grandma Watski is the kind of lady who could stick a full roast beef dinner on your plate without you knowing, in the time it takes for you to sneeze.

You could be eating something like Roast Potatoes and be sure that the amount of them on your plate isn't decreasing, thats because they're not, Grandma Watski is covertly putting more food on your plate whilst you are eating. You get to the point where you've been chewing away for 20 minutes only for there to be more food on your plate than when you started.

"No, honestly Grandma Im fine, no seriously, oh go on then, stick it on the plate, you were going to anyway"

This place was the same, I would be chatting away to someone, turn back and my plate would be gone or my glass would be filled, or my knife would have been removed and a new spoon would be there. You dont mind your plate going, but if its a nano-second after you've eaten the last bit and you also fancied the looks of seconds then it gets a bit annoying. The worst thing is not seeing it go.

I think I had 4 different plates one lunch, each with just one item on it. Just to prove a point. I'm going to have seconds even if it means them having to wash extra pots. It's not my fault.
Just do me a favour and leave the plate where it is. This professional service isnt half annoying sometimes.

After lunch we had a little civilised game of rounders, we didnt want to walk too far so we played in front of the helicopter. The blokes took it all far too seriously and before long it got very competitive.

The pilot came out and had a look at what we were doing, just like the owner of a car parked outside would do. I can say without doubt that it is the first and only time this phrase would have been uttered anywhere:

"watch the helicopter with that ball wont you?"

Its a sign of the times.

Friday, September 10, 2004

How the other half live

I've been away on a 2 day course at a swanky stately home kind of place in North Yorkshire the last couple of days. So posting was kept to a minimum because of that and damned blogger. I spent all Wednesday trying to post something, anything, but ultimately nothing. Maybe blogger had taken it upon itself to be my personal censor;

"Thats rubbish. You can keep clicking publish post all you want but this baby's going nowhere"

So you might see this, or you might not. Depending on bloggers whim.

I set off early Thursday morning for my trip to swankesville and yet still managed to arrive 2 minutes late. I always seem to be 2 minutes late for everything. I try and set off earlier but nothing ever changes, you can bet that 2 minutes after the scheduled start time I will sweatily appear.

It's frustrating though, I'd rather be an hour late than 2 minutes, at least with an hour you can come up with a decent excuse. 2 minutes late doesnt warrant an excuse, you are late and you are the reason why. I am destined to be 2 minutes late for everything.

The house had a long sprawling drive which led to the car park, it was a very posh place indeed. I could have sworn that I saw a few peasants being flogged out back but chose not to get involved. As i drove up the drive I noticed the dark silhouettes of 2 stags under a large tree in the front grounds, I think I wanted to believe that there was a kind of place that this happened so much that I forgot to ask myself the basic reality-check questions when seeing them.

Like "Dont be so silly"

It wasnt until I had made an idiot of myself a little later by commenting

"those Stags have been shading underneath the tree for a while" that I was told they were wire mesh sculptures.

Note to self: dont waive reality check questions again, they are there for a reason.

After parking the car I then fiddled around with the papers I'd spead all over the passenger seat, putting all my directions away, making sure all the pre-reading that I had done on the way up was in order, etc. I turned back to get out of the door and had the shock of my life. There was what can only be described as a butler peering in at me from my drivers window. I jumped out of my skin, his face didnt flicker, I bet he wanted to laugh his head off. Although I bet he's done it to many people many times. Its probably par for the course now.

How long had he been there? Was my mind playing tricks on me? If I closed my eyes and opened them again would he have gone?

He was real. He opened the car door for me to prove it. He didnt realise he was proving it to me, he didnt know that opening the car door was confirmation of his realism, to him he was just opening the car door for me, to me it was proof that I hadnt gone back to the early 20th century.

After my heart rate had come back down to normal levels he started bothering me with questions. Firing them at me like a well oiled rifle. No emotion to them, just the same questions he'd asked everybody else this morning and the same questions he'll be asking everyone else after me. He didnt want to know the answers, he didnt care. I just wanted to get my bags and get in, he wanted to know if I wanted them carrying, if I'd had a good journey, if I thought the weather was nice, if I would be requiring a table, if he was doing my head in.

All he was doing was making me later.

And he kept calling me Sir after every question, I hate being called Sir. Especially when I have no 'Sir' characteristics about me at all. You know I'm not a Sir, I know Im not a Sir, I know that you know that Im not a Sir, so do us all a favour and cut the Sirs out.

Unless Sirs thank butlers who carry their bags with "Cheers mate". I'd be a Sir then.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Midfield General

I've started another ramble fest called Midfield General which concentrates on sport.

Why dont you drop by and have a look?

Boys in Blue Too

On the subject of the boys in blue (sorry Brent), it reminded me of an occasion earlier this year when I was stopped by them in the car.

I had a company car at the time and one of the headlights was less bright than the other one, it wasnt totally out, but it also wasnt totally working properly either. I'd known this for a few days, but as the car was going in for a service the following week I thought Id hang on till then to get the garage to do it for me.

One night, 2 members of Melton Mowbray section of the Leicestershire constabulary were passing time in a lay-by, obviously kicking their feet from having investigated all the crimes in the area at that particular time. They had also noticed my headlights, and fortunately for the public at large they now had time to stop me and let me know.

I saw the blue lights in my mirror as I was driving along, and after the initial micro-second thoughts of 'am I drunk?', 'am I legal?', 'am I unwittingly being used as a drugs mule by some major Colombian Mr Big?'. I realised that I had nothing to worry about. So I got out of the car.

"Get back in the car" a voice boomed from the wound down window of the police car. So I did. And re-assed my appraisal of the situation.

The Policeman then got out of his car and walked over to me. I wound the window down

"Do you know why Ive stopped you Sir?"

I resisted the sarcasm which tempted me, for I know that there is only one winner in a sarcasm battle with Her Majestys Finest.

"Errr, No?"

"Would you like to get out of the car Sir?"

So I did. He'd make up his mind.

He showed me the light. I pleaded innocence and begged him not to lock me up.

I didnt really, I told him that I would get it done straight away, but I wanted to tell him that.

He then took his time walking round the car inspecting every last detail, scowling when realising there was nothing else he could tell me off for. But he made up for it by taking his time to lecture me on the problem with a faulty light and that I should inspect my car more often and get it fixed as soon as possible.

"Dont worry, I will do" I cheerily told him,

"By the way, I noticed as you were following me that one of your lights is brighter than the other and was dazzling me" I helpfully pointed out. Congratulating myself on being a fine upstanding member of the community.

"Yes, well at least its brighter than yours" He responded. Straight faced.

I was thrown, the policeman had turned into a 5 year old.

"I just thought that you might want to know" I said

"I'd have asked if I wanted to know"

The brilliance of this comment didnt hit me till later. How would he have known to ask? Oh how I wished I had my time again.

"I dont want an argument, I just thought that you might like to know if one of your lights is faulty. Like you've let me know." I responded.

"We can have an argument about who the policeman is here if you want"

We didnt need to. That much was obvious.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Boys in Blue

I couldnt help but laugh to myself the other day when I saw that West Midlands police were sending postcards to 700 people believed to be responsible for committing more than 47,000 crimes in the region in the last 12 months.

The postcard has a picture of Birmingham jail and says "Wish you were here".

Very good officers. I see what you've done there.

I was also a little bemused, because to send a postcard to someone you have to know their address, and if you know their address then you know where they live.

Wouldnt it just be easier to nip round and arrest them?


Monday, September 06, 2004

Falling off the wagon

Less than 48 hours into the new healthy me, Saturday night saw a particularly spectacular fall from the wagon. 48 hours must be some sort of record.

I knew it was going to be a struggle after I had the "shall we go out tonight" phonecall from assorted friends. Alcohol was meant to be in moderation, moderation isnt a word that is used very often on a Saturday night out.

To cut a very long story very short. I ended the night extremely drunk. 2.30am saw me staggering from a club and making my way, as I normally do, to Mansfields finest after hours chip shop, its almost a sixth sense for me. I can only assume that its some sort of silent calling, a pilgramage that generations of Watski's have done in the past. A bit like the birds flying South for winter or the squirrels knowing where theyve buried their nuts, I am drawn to this eating establishment at the same time each week. My offspring and their offspring and all the other Watski's will no doubt make the same journey in the future.

I proceeded to tuck into their normally uneatable Battered Beefburger and Chips, why does food you never would normally touch look so appetising after a night out? If squashed pigeon was scraped up into a sandwich I'd be sticking tomato sauce all over it without even thinking about it. It was about half way through when I had my first guilt pang, but I managed to stifle it and carry on, which wasnt too difficult. I imagined CJ telling me off but it was too nice to stop.

I got a taxi home and the next thing I remember was being face down in the garden, all wet from the dew. How did I get this drunk? Then the next thing I remember after that was waking up at 8am on the settee, fluffy mouth, fully clothed, with the back door wide open and next doors cat looking at me in disgust.

If that Cat had rubbed a magic lantern at that moment and the genie had said to it:

"I am the genie and can turn you into a human if you so wish",

the Cat would have taken one look at me and said

"Like him? Nah, Im ok as I am, thanks all the same".

I rose from the settee and looked for my mobile phone, I couldnt find it. I knew it would be somewhere around so I rung it from the house phone. Couldnt hear it. Then I checked the human shaped, flattened area of grass on the back garden and found it around where the arm was. Luckily it was no worse for wear.

The worst thing about the whole sorry saga was the phone said that I'd missed a missed call, I looked at the number and knew that I knew it but spent about 10 minutes trying to work out who it was. Then I realised. It was me. 2 minutes before.

I went back to bed, feeling guilty for using up so much oxygen.

Posts may be sporadic this week...

Friday, September 03, 2004

The New Me..

The squirrels are puzzled. Their nuts have disappeared and they aren't sure where.

CJ's cupboard, thats where. Or 'pantry' to give it its proper name. It looks like a squirrels winter storage. Aduky beans and pumpkin seeds are abound.

Inspired by Dr Gillian, CJ is on a healthy eating regime, which means I am also on one. My previous favourite foods and assorted unhealthy habits have been consigned to recent history and now I am enjoying a healthy alternative.

I arrived at work today with the tupperware version of the Russion doll, much to the amusement of my work colleagues. Each box having a different healthy option in it. My breakfast was fruit and nuts (fruit and nut bar, mmmmmm...., sorry, got distracted then), my lunch was lettuce, cucumber, chicken and celery. I dont really eat celery or cucumber, but I do now apparently.

Thank the Lord for salad cream which I have managed to negotiate into my diet. A quick dollop of that and a swizz around and no-one would know whats in there, its akin to Mummy Duck mashing carrots up in my mashed potato when I was younger (last week).

And Im now enjoying my carrot sticks. The ridicule and fun matters not, I can walk through the office feeling healthy with my chest out and my head held high scoffing at their abysmal eating habits. Its difficult keeping on the straight and narrow though working for a Food manufacturer where snack food is prevalent in the office. I am even drinking hot water with lemon in it.

Tonight will no doubt be something with wholemeal rice and lots of vegetables.

The start of health was meant to be yesterday but after my muesli breakfast I forgot my bag of tupperware, not on purpose, and so had to taint myself with the poison which is sandwiches and crisps for lunch. Much to the disapproval of CJ, but my argument was that surely it was better to eat unhealthily rather than starve to death, the fact that I managed to abstain from the chocolate all day helped my argument there I think. Im sure even the witch Dr Gillian would agree with me on that count. Is that where witchdoctor came from?

Its been about 3 hours so far today and I've thought about biscuits a lot, chocolate a lot and crisps the most.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Moving house..

I helped my friend Jake move house the other week. After a few years 'up Narth' in Sunderland he can resist the calling of the Fatherland no more.

It was a few weeks ago but after undergoing an intensive course of therapy I've just found that Im able to talk about this experience. I was told that it would help. The physical scars mend, the mental ones....hey.

Jake, being the tight arse he is wanted to move house on the cheap. He responded 'ha' when quoted a sizeable fee for a removal firm to move him and his bits back down here. Why spend a fortune when I can get my Dad and my mate Watski to take a couple of days off and help me do it? He's a web developer and has promised to help improve the look of this blog in exchange for help, if it doesnt change then you know he's dodgy. There's pressure Jake.

I was actually looking forward to it, I now realise that this was my sadistic nature. Jake knows exactly how to appeal to my boyish side:

"why dont you come and give me a hand and there might be a drive in a big lorry in it for you"

"Lorry you say?"
I was trying to be cool about it. So the bargaining power was with me.

"Wow. Yeah, yeah. Where, when, what do I have to do?" Too late. You need to be imagining a big slobbery dog chasing a stick now.

Its amazing what the thought of a bit of 'men work' can do to the psyche of a man - when the day arrived I'd made myself a flask of coffee, started saying 'love' after every sentence and bought a copy of 'The Sun' especially to put in the part where the dashboard meets the window. I was in full part. I was all for getting a registration plate with 'Watski' on it to stick on the front grill but I thought that might be going a bit too far.

Jakes Dad drew the long straw and got the first drive of the big lorry up the motorway, sticking my big union jack in the cab and then fiddling with all the dials and buttons diverted my attention from my initial sulk of not driving it. Jakes Dad, for his part was letting all the lorries overtake us just so that he could flash them in and see them signal their thanks to us. It took us 5 hours to get 150 miles.

We eventually got there about 6pm, the plan was that we would stick all the stuff in the van within a couple of hours and be back in blighty for tea and crumpets before midnight. At midnight I was hanging out of my arse over a wall, what we thought was going to take a couple of hours took about 6 in all. We were knackered by the end, which was ok for everyone else, but a midnight finish in Sunderland meant that I couldn't enjoy my turn to drive as much as a freshly recharged and ready to go Watski would have done.

Never mind, I was going to enjoy this no matter what.

Before long we were on the open road trucking, I was Kris Kristofferson in Convoy, except I didnt have the big truck, the air horn or the busty girls. All I had was 2 people yapping away at the side of me wanting to stop for coffee every 2 minutes. I bet Eddie Stobart never had this problem. Couldnt they see I was a man at work

They felt inclined to stay awake so that they kept me awake. I wish they hadnt.

No wonder lorry drivers have all got strong arms. This signalling lorries in and out is a real game. Everytime you pass a lorry they flash you in, so you have to flash them back when you've been flashed in, then when a lorry passes you, you also have to flash them in too. It was great for the first 10 minutes as I was initiated into their gang by association. They didnt know I was new at this, how could they tell? I nearly stopped at a service station to buy a CB kit.

But my arms were going ten to the dozen, it was like Blackpool illuminations up and down the A1. I got fed up of it after about 10 minutes, but I couldnt stop doing it because I didnt want to be highlighted as a non-trucker. I was a trucker, I was driving one. When in Rome, etc..

We got back in the early hours, and I was absolutely dead on my feet. This trucking business is hard work. But I slept soundly in my cap and overalls dreaming of the open road.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

When did i get old?

Ive been hearing things lately that have made me very worried. I appear to be at an age that, if I were a Sportsman, I should be thinking about calling it a day.

This has troubled me. I know Im not old but I've always kind of related my age to that of a sportsman: teens is raw potential, mid twenties is prime, 30's is twi-light, late 30's is retiring time.

The bones are still ok, just about. It might take me slightly longer to get out of bed in a morning and Im a little more catankerous than I was before. Hair grows in parts of the body I didnt realise had follicles and my best football days are probably behind me - some might say that they haven't been there at all. I prefer music as it used to be and look back favourably on all things yesterday.

It is true, Im becoming middle aged.

I knew that i'd be getting old when people my age stop playing football. The problem is that some of them are packing it in about now.

32 year old Alan Shearer will be retiring next year, 29 year old Paul Scholes has retired from playing for England. Paul Gascoigne looks like about 60 and is on a downward playing spiral.

There are a whole raft of late twenties-early thirties Athletes in the Olympic games who could have been in their last Olympics.

Lots of footballers who I remember as of young are entering the twi-light of their careers.

Then I stumble across the ages of people I assumed were older than me and are perceived as older by me and I discover Im older than them, this really hurts. Ive always perceived my sporting heroes to be older than me, even if they obviously aren't, it feels strange idolising a person who is younger than me.

When did i become old? I cant remember that happening.