Members Only

Gym

In order to lose a bit of weight and to improve my general well-being, I’ve joined a gym. I boldly, and somewhat recklessly, paid for the entire year’s membership up front. By doing so I’ve mentally and financially committed myself to going, plus I managed to get 14 months for the price of 12 so it was a good deal.

Nothing sexier than a man who loves a bargain is there, but I digress…

It’s not a New Years Resolution or anything like that. I’ve got a list of New Years Resolutions and they include giving up things that are bad for me. Bungee jumping being one of them. I was up to 4 a day at one point which isn’t good for anyone. No, this seeking more exercise is a necessary thing. I have a couple of health issues which can best be sorted out by me getting off my fat arse and doing some bloody exercise. I contemplated going on a diet, but I hate diets. It’s no coincident the word ‘diet’ contains the word ‘die’, so I ain’t going there. More exercise is the key.

I bought some new sporting equipment and went for my first session, and for the first five minutes or so stood there trying to work out what to use first. I have a problem with gym equipment that’s a bit too much like ‘Life stuff’ or too much like ‘doing stuff outside’ so I don’t use the bikes, as I could cycle if I wish, or treadmills, as I can walk and run if I want to. In addition I also have to walk home from the gym so if I use up all my energy running or walking on the treadmill how the hell will I get home? Other equipment includes a step machine so high I can’t use it as I have vertigo. I get dizzy standing on a chair so anything involving heights also, in my opinion, requires the possession of wings, so no way Jose. Actually I’m not scared of heights, it’s falling from a great height and hitting the ground I’m very scared of. Also, I have stairs at home so it falls into the category of ‘gym equipment that’s like doing normal stuff”.

I like the rowing machine as I don’t have a boat, so I gave that a go. I used the weights for a while and that seemed fun. As I left each machine I adjusted the weights to a few more kg than I’d pressed and pulled because it makes me look good and I’m a very very sad man. I had a go on those massive round rubber balls but was told they’re not Space Hoppers and I should move on, which killed my buzz a bit. Then I hit gold; the cross trainer. Its not like walking, running or doing anything you would outside. It’s like doing all three. Vigorously. Huzzah! The cross trainer’s for me. Because moving your arms and legs like a clockwork monkey for half an hour is just the sort of exercise you want for £220 a year.

The gym has fitness classes which I can book online. I’m up for some Zumba but one of those sessions is at 6.15am, so I’ll look for a later one as I’m barely capable of speaking at 6.15am let alone moving my arms and legs in a rhythmic manner. The other sessions all sound a little full on. Body Pump. Body Combat. Body Jam. Body Attack. Insanity. Insanity just sounds mental so I’ll probably not bother with that. Body Jam sounds good. I wonder if it comes with scones and cream?

The gym has the lot. Along with a rather cunning method of entry. No more going into town and thinking ‘Darn, I can’t go to the gym as I’ve forgotten my ID card.’ My ID card is my fingerprint. I pop my index finger into a slot and the doors open for me, so I can’t ever use the excuse ‘Oh I’ve forgotten my ID card’ unless I leave my hand at home, which is unlikely.

So it’s got the lot, but amongst all the equipment and fitness paraphernalia, what surprised me most was the amount of equipment on display, in the male changing room.

I used to play football so I’m used to dressing rooms, and a certain amount of flesh on display, but here there were cocks, bellends, tallywhackers and knobs of all shapes and sizes all over the place. It didn’t matter what size or shape of gentleman was there, and believe me when I say not all were sculpted Adonis-like forms of physical perfection, all were proud to let their sausage swing. I’ve never seen so many schlongs, dongs, tools or todgers. It was like Clapham Cockjunction. I knew it was a members only gym but I didn’t realise that this referred to the dress code in the changing rooms. No placing a towel around the waist and moving discreetly from the shower to your locker here. No way. People were striding around, doing stretching warm ups with one leg on the bench, dangerously close to me as I was sitting down doing my laces up trying not to look at anything at all. At one point I was perilously close to being knocked out by flailing phallus from a man who was stretching a little too close to where I was sitting. I was going to ask him to ‘move over a bit old chap’ but his old chap looked like it was capable of speaking for him. It was so big I thought he had a hoover with him. Or a small child. A small child with one eye.

Undaunted by this I’ll return to the gym on Thursday. I’m not intimidated by the size, shapes, lengths or girth of what’s on display, but I might go earlier in the day, when it’s quieter. After all, you don’t want lots of mens cocks rammed down your throat first thing in the morning.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Behold the faces of death

 

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Awwww, how cute.

NO! DO NOT BE FOOLED! Behold, the faces of death!

At the beginning of December we adopted two cats from a local rescue centre, a kitten and its mother, originally called Punk and Folly, now renamed Harry and Molly.

Look how cute they are. Snuggled together.

Behind such innocence lies the beating hearts of killers, and the worrying thing is I reckon I’m next in the firing line.

We can’t let them out, yet, until we’ve had Harry *whispers* done, so at the moment they’re confined to the downstairs of the house.

Which is the problem.

Or was the problem.

For Caramel.

Caramel was our much-loved, nutjob of a hamster who’d walk upside down along the underside of the top of the cage, throw stuff out and make the most God almighty racket while you were watching telly. Caramel was, without a doubt, a hamster with a lot of character. If such small creatures can have a lot of anything.

I remember my first experience with Caramel, previously called Gingerbelle, and how we all laughed as she bit my finger, shat in my hand and ran off along the sofa. In time however she became a loving companion to us all, in her cage on top of one of the storage units in the living room, doing power pull ups from her bars like some hardened jailbird doing a twenty year stretch.

Sadly these power pull ups didn’t help her when push came to shove.

A week after Harry and Molly’s arrival my beauty sleep was broken by Red saying “I need your help.”

In the days preceding the cats had taken an ever-growing interest in Caramel. Both had stared at her, transfixed, licking their lips. while she went about her hamstery business. Both had, at times, leapt up to Caramel’s cage and playfully clawed it while… erm, licking their lips.

Both cats were told firmly “no” and shooed away from the cage. I had also conversed with them at length about the nature of our house and how peaceful coexistence was needed for us to be a harmonious unit. I also told Caramel I had her back.

On the morning my assistance was needed the cats had, somehow, opened the door of the kitchen and got into the living room, ransacking the hamster cage. Sawdust was on the floor, the cage was overturned and pulled apart and the hamster was nowhere to be seen. I didn’t need to be Gil Grissom to work out what had gone on. I hoped that dear sweet Caramel was hiding in a corner somewhere, safe and out of the reaches of these ferocious felines, but I braced myself for the worst.

Red was crying, she felt it was her fault as she’d put the cats into the kitchen the night before and somehow they’d escaped “We need to find the hamster.” I felt sad too as I told that little thing I had it’s back, and you NEVER leave a man behind.

I looked around and then I heard an “oh no, she’s behind the door” as Red had found the hamster, very much behind the door, euphemistically speaking. Dead. I turned my head slowly, expecting claret all over the gaff and insides to be outside but Caramel was simply lying on the floor. At peace.

It was before the school run so the news was broken to the 9-year-old hamster owner. There was some sadness but it was dealt with suprisingly quickly, and I went about clearing up the mess, making sure that Caramel didn’t get sucked up into the Dyson.

Later that day I found our much-loved pet a final resting spot. RIP Caramel Gingerbelle. You will be missed. But it did make me wonder if all passings might be dealt with so glibly. I mean, I don’t expect a great deal of care in my old age if I have to remind them to feed their Tamagotchi every day. What will happen when I’ve joined Caramel in The Great Cage in The Sky? Will the words “Oh well, we can get another one from the pet shop” be mentioned when I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil?

I guess it’s not surprising that the cats killed the hamster. Cats and small rodent things don’t get on. I’ve seen Tom and Jerry so I know the score. The thing is that I’m a little worried as we can’t explain how they got from one room to the other. Of course, a loss of a much-loved pet is terribly sad but there’s something else that’s on my mind; cats can do this if you’re not giving them enough attention. Big thanks to @mlaransom75 for alerting me to this gem.

 

Also, we must have cats with opposable thumbs. Cats that can work out locked doors. Cats that are…

What’s that noise? I’m writing this in a locked room but I can see… What. Wait! What’s going on? The lock. It’s… The door handle. It’s… it’s turning. It’s…

If you’re reading this… send help. Help me. Send help now, please. Before it’s too….

***

Thanks for reading

 

 

 

 

Wilf Young – a tribute

I first met Wilf when I was at the crease. Edgbaston I think it was. He seemed a gentle soul. We were crossing for a quick single but my batting scared him. “Leave right now” he joked.
We all laughed.
Who knew…
Who knew how he’d change the world of popular music for the better.

The way he overcame his talking not as well as otherness, his stutter, while the glare of the public eye was, all the time, looking into his face, is a testament to his strength, his drive and his diving. We cried and laughed and shared in his joy as Splash became a sensation on ITV.

Leave right now, he sanged, as we all prayed for him to at least get a bronze on the 50m dive.

Many questioned his hair. Some questioned his shoes. None people, namely none one no one oh no not no one other none other but you, could question his commitment. Ohhhhhoh Ohhh.

RIP Wilf. Always, for me, 28 not out (including extras)

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Thirty times, sixty times, one hundred times…

This morning we attended the school’s annual harvest festival. To be honest, I was surprised schools still did harvest festivals. I remember taking part in some when I was a puppy but I thought, with multiculturalism, pluralism, society becoming more multifaith etc, harvest festivals went out with the ark but, would you Adam and Eve it, there they still are. Like Everton in the Premier League. Always there, never exciting, not going anywhere.

I guess it’s a reminder of the fact that this is still a Christian country and the Church of England still has some sway.

Harvest festivals that is, not Everton being in the Premier League, but I digress.

The children all walked into the hall and took their places on the stage. I was going to tweet the whole thing but it didn’t seem right tweeting in church. I sent out a tweet saying so.

We were going to be treated to some form of display involving children wearing crowns with vegetables on the front and singing. Lots of singing.

The vicar, a camp sounding fellow who made me wonder if he was a friend of Mary’s, told us what was going on. A festival. For harvest. Ish. Basically harvest festival is like a big up to God for giving us the Tesco Express down the road. He didn’t say that. I thunked it. The vicar said we could take photos but not to be daft and stand up, or obscure others views, which was a bugger as I’d borrowed a ladder and lenses from Dazza the paparazzi for some close-ups. Now I just looked like a bloke on a ladder, which was awkward. He also asked us not to post pictures on Facebook, which is fair enough as he was ugly.

The piano plonky plinked into life and the children started singing.

I’m a sap with the best of them, I cry at The Waltons and always go awww when I see a cute kitten. Look…

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

AWWW!!! SO CUTE!!!

…but something about 5 and 6 year olds singing puts my spine on edge. It’s not actually a very nice sound is it? Quite literally the sound only a mother (or father) could love. I can make out a tune but the words aren’t all there and there’s not so much a smile on my face as a grimace. I’m usually singing something else inside my own head. Probably Fancy by Iggy.

Singing. Singing. More singing. Why is it that teachers always insist on their classes singing in rounds? One side starting off and then a few seconds later the other side starting off. It’s like a norked up stereo. Why is this musical motif only ever brought out at school assemblies or harvest festivals? You never hear it in anything else? Lennon and McCartney never used the round on Sergeant Peppers? The Stone Roses didn’t use it on I Am The Resurrection, which is, incidentally a song sadly omitted from Easter assemblies and someone really should take a look into this but again, I digress.

My girlfriend’s daughter was taking part. Yesterday she was going to be a pea but the strain of the role got too much for little Sydney and she passed it onto someone else, which was good as we couldn’t find any green clothing for her to wear while she was a pea. Or as my girlfriend innocently put it to the teacher and the teaching assistant yesterday she “couldn’t find any clothes to represent her pea-ness.”

Once she realised what she’d said, she went a rather fetching shade of red. I’ve never seen her blush so much. I’ve never seen ANYONE blush so much.

There was a section in the harvest festival where the children reminded us of the fact that we should feel fortunate to have the food we have. This is true. It’s unsettling how in this country we still have so many people in poverty. I remember taking stuff to harvest festival when I was a boy and my gran used to give me a carrier bag from M&S full of items to donate. Now I guess the food goes to food banks, and I wondered how many kids in the hall would be fed from one. How many parents use food banks. How many would ever tell anyone they do.

The vicar then asked us to be thankful and give praise to a bountiful God. God might be bountiful but the money that hath bespendeth on his fruits must be plentiful. I can’t do the praying stuff. I won’t do the praying stuff.  Try explaining an African famine to a 6-year-old after a religious harvest festival.

A little boy wandered into our aisle. He took his dummy out and asked where his nan was. She was behind us.

Phew.

He then decided he was too hot and wanted to take his clothes off.

There’s always one I thought. Thank God it wasn’t me this time.

I thought on. I guess being in a church allows for reflection and thought after all, so I was in the right place, even though the children were making a right old racket with that terrible singing. I thought about my own upbringing and faith, and how that slipped away when I questioned more as I grew up, dissonant was the message of harvest festival and news items like famines in Ethiopia, how God was wise and good and yet children died, children who had done nothing wrong to anyone, how none of this added up. It simply didn’t make sense. I thought about other religions and what I knew of those. I thought about intolerance and hatred and war, stemming from religious differences or ingrained thought and contra to a message of love and peace and harmony. I thought about…

I paused for a moment. A cold sweat came over me.

Shit.

That tweet I sent earlier.

Tweeting.

From a pew.

In a church.

In God’s house.

Well, one of them anyhow.

Shit.

I thought “I’m going to hell aren’t I?”

 

Thanks for reading.

***

PS: I wasn’t really on a ladder, I thought the image might tickle you.

PPS: Yes. She really said ‘pea-ness’

PPSS: That’s Harry the cat, who will be joining us with his mummy in a couple of weeks. Altogether now… Awwwwwwwww!

 

 

 

Real men bake stuff

Cake

After we booked mums cremation and moved her stuff out of the nursing home we decided to stop for lunch. We went to a local pub for a bite to eat and while, for me, the temptation to get absolutely shitfaced was very strong, I just had a soda and lime. That sort of behaviour, the behaviour I grew up with, the getting shitfacedness must stop somewhere.

Mum had died on the Monday, and all week forty million different emotions coursed their way inside, outside, around and about me, pricking at my conscience, igniting the dying embers of memories both good and painful, making me feel sad and angry. I needed something to take me away from all that was going on inside.

Something good came from the day, thanks to both my girlfriend, who I will never be able to thank enough for being so supportive, but also, and somewhat randomly, to the chef at The Crown and Anchor, Barugh Green who served The Best Steak Pie I Have Ever Had.

This was lunch. With a capital F.

Sublime pastry, tender steak in an ale gravy, with mushy peas and hand-cut chips. It was the pie people dream of. It was the pie other pies dream of being.

All for a fiver.

Yes, £5.

Crown and Anchor, Steak and Ale Pie

If you’re around Barnsley way, then do go to the Crown & Anchor for the ultimate pie-gasmic experience. You won’t be disappointed. My clumsy words haven’t described adequately just how glorious this pie was.

All yours for five of your Earth pounds.

Anyhow, I digress.

I’m not sure if it’s an accident of fate, a coincidence of events such as the one described above, the seasons changing, or just a great big PR effort on behalf of those involved in The Great British Bake Off but I’ve had a hankering for baked products of late, and so I’ve started to bake the shit out of stuff.

I used to make bread daily, and I’ve made pastry in the past with mixed success but I went with my instincts this weekend and decided to bake my tits off. So I made a pithivier and peanut butter chocolate squares on Sunday. I made a birthday cake on Monday. Today is Tuesday. What, or who am I going to bake today?

In addition, all of my baked offerings have been made without labour-saving appliances like mixers, blenders, whizzers or doofers. Blood sweat and tears have gone into these things. Not literally of course. That would be unhygienic, but anyhow, I digress. Again.

Pithivier

I’m convinced that baking is as close to scientific endeavour as you can get without going into a laboratory or going into space, but twice as hard. Making pastry is not just a simple matter of putting stuff together and seeing what sticks, or doesn’t. It’s a careful process, a slow process, one which shouldn’t be rushed. Like doing chemistry and stuff. Prolly.

There should be a Nobel Prize for Baking.

Ordinarily flour, lard or butter, water and salt aren’t a meal, but put them in a bowl, mix them together and you’ve got yourself a pastry baby! Fill that pastry with tender steak, and rich gravy, or chicken in a white sauce, or mushrooms, sweet potatoes, carrots and you’ve got yourself a pie.

Real men bake.

Real men don’t eat quiches.

Real men BAKE quiches.

Question. Put together flour, sugar, eggs, butter, chocolate, lots of melted chocolate, cocoa powder and, oh my days we’ve got ourselves some cake mix to bake and shut the front door but a CAKE IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!

The thing I’ve found though, is maybe do it as a surprise. No-one wants to be told this is what’s going on and then… nothing. Plus, it’s less pressure.

‘I’M GONNA MAKE A BIRTHDAY CAKE’ you shout from the rooftops, put on Facebook, tweet and then instantly regret as the pictures of what you’re going to make all shout at you ‘YOU WILL NEVER MAKE ME. YOU ARE SHIT.’ The pressure is on. The pressure is immense. World Cup Final penalty shootouts are nothing compared to the pressure you’re under when you’ve promised a birthday cake to a 3-year-old. Believe me, I know from experience, as I missed one for Italy in 1994.

You get the right recipe, go shopping, get all the ingredients together, and you start making that most important of cakes.

One hour later you’d better have a goddamn birthday cake made or somewhere in the house is gonna be a child whose face will crumple from an excited smile into a pained grimace, and that sight is gonna be etched on your consciousness forever.

It’ll be the last thing you see before you die.

When you pull that cake tin out of the oven it had better look good, and that cake had better be edible. That buttercream had better be smooth, not powdery. That cake had better be light and fluffy. It’d better have candles on it.

Otherwise.

Otherwise you’ve just been some bloke fucking about making a mess in the kitchen for the afternoon, and you’ve ruined a child’s birthday.

Are you a real man? Are you a real woman?

Do you bake?

***

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Are you #TeamWindow or #TeamDoor?

Simon Le Bon

We spend, according to some ill-researched fact I spent seconds scouring the interweb for, one-third of our lives asleep. We also spend 48 days having sex, 1.1 years cleaning, 2.5 years cooking, 3 months of our lives in traffic (Unless you live in Cambridge in which case it’s 5 years), women spend nearly 1 year deciding what to wear, the average man will spend 1 year staring at women, and, the most telling stat of all, 22% of us have a 1 in 8 chance of spending 5 days reading meaningless fun-fact based statistics from off the interweb.

One third of your life asleep. Give or take a bit. That’s roughly 8 hours a day. About the same amount of time as a pig, a rabbit and a guinea pig fact fans.

A cow, however, only sleeps for 4 hours a day. Which is surprising as you think they’d get more done, but anyhow I digress.

I’m writing this post because a recent thought between my significantly more interesting other and I is that we should buy a new bed.

We haven’t wrecked the old one or ‘owt. BUT WE’VE GIVEN IT A BLOODY GOOD TRY, IF YOU GET MY DRIFT. WOOF! WOOF WOOF WOOF!

Sorry, not sure what came over me then.

That’s what she said. Fnarr fnarr, but anyhow I digress again.

Yes, a new bed.

The old one has a ledge around it. Handy for putting your Sunday morning cup of tea on. A plus. Also very handy for accidentally maiming yourself. This is a massive blood-stained and bruised minus.

We’ve been looking at buying something new because we both utterly hate this 4 inch ledge that surrounds the bed, just below the mattress top. So its shamazeballs for resting things on, but when you move around the bed to open the curtains and welcome in the morning you will always bark and scrap your shin on this bastard ledge. Always. I’ve scraped my shin a lot of a lot on this hateful ledge and my loved one has actually broken her actual toe on this stupid, not entirely pointless (but very very very annoying) bastard of a ledge.

So, we’re getting a new bed WITHOUT a ledge and while things will be different, some things will remain the same. The love of my life, the left to my right, the light to my dark, the pig to my whistle (I should delete that one before publishing) will be sleeping on the side by the window, as per, and I shall be sleeping on the side by the door.

Why is this?

Why do some have this inclination to sleep window-side, while other sleep door-wards?

Well, dear reader, I have a theory and its all tied up with Darwin, natural selection and altruism. In fact it centres on theories from Darwin, Herbert Spencer and Auguste Comte. The Three Degrees of Sociobiology as I call them.

Darwin claimed that individuals with characteristics most suited to the environment are more likely to survive and reproduce, and called this natural selection. Herbert Spencer coined the term ‘survival of the fittest’ describing how members of a species most fitted to the environment in which they live have the best chance of reproduction and passing on their own genes and Auguste Comte wrote about altruism, where individuals behave selflessly towards others for the welfare of others, as opposed to egoism where people behave like douches.

Ergo, I sleep on the door side of the bed because I am best able to cope with the very real prospect of an axe murderer coming into the bedroom while we sleep. According to statistics found off the le internet, 1 in 100 of you have a 1 in 10,000 chance of being murdered by an axe murderer while you sleep. Or sommat. So, yes. Axe murderers. A very real threat.

Here comes the science bit.

I am, as a human man, bigger and stronger than my female lady bed friend, and have a greater chance of survival while forcibly repelling this mad axe murderers mad axe attack. My lady woman lover lady friend is smaller and, as a female has a higer tolerance to pain, and so she would be able to climb out of the window and drop twenty feet to safety, escaping the murdering axeman. I, while displaying altruism in order for her genes to survive, have hindered his attack but have been chopped to bits. She flees to safety, carrying her genes with her, ready to start a new life with Simon Le Bon.

RIP Spencer. Rest in Pieces.

Of course, if we just kept the bed with the annoying ledge,the mad axe murdering axe murderer would probably come into the bedroom, bark his shin on the ledge and leave us alone, swearing as he exits the house to go off to murder Brian and Jacqui over the road.

Maybe we should reconsider this new bed idea. Maybe it’s a bad bed idea?

Maybe we need the ledge?

Maybe it would save my life?

Maybe I should move over to the window?

I’m not sure I want to be cut into pieces and dumped for Simon Le Bon.

* * *

Do you sleep by the window or by the door, and why? Enquiring minds need to know and all that.

Oh, and thanks for reading.

Conservative Conference Caption Competition

It’s that time of year when the bar at the Hurlingham Club is emptier than Dr Fox’s diary for December, and chinless wonders from all over this land descend upon a city to bray in unison. Yes folks,  its the Conservative Party conference and to mark this year’s gathering of gits, jamboree of jerks, congress of c…  nope,  let’s keep it clean Spencer,  to mark this auspicious event in the political calendar here’s the annual Conservative Conference Caption Competition.

Can you come up with a witty,  amusing caption for this photo?

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Captions, in my comments slit,  if you please. 

Thanks for your time. 

#SilentSunday

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I can’t swear when…

Profanity

…there are children within earshot. It’s not the done thing is it?

I did once. While in Cambridge with my son. We were sitting on a bench and my son got up and off the bench just as a cyclist whizzed by at great speed. The cyclist didn’t hit him, which is fortunate as if they had, more than a very great deal of swearing would’ve occurred. A very great deal of bloodshed would’ve taken place.

As we were on the pavement, and so was this cyclist, I held my son and checked he was okay. He was shocked but fine. I shouted something like GET OFF THE PAVEMENT! ‘IS THE ROAD BROKEN, YOU FUCKING CRETIN?’

My son, who was 3, shouted, ‘GET OFF THE PAVEMENT YOU FUCKING CRETIN’

Dad of the Year Award that year went to Peter Andre, I think.

As such, I don’t swear around children. Mainly because I don’t want them to use the words back at me. What goes around comes around right?

‘How was dinner?’

‘It was shit dad, but you did your best’

Is not what you want to hear when the vicar comes to tea.

Actually there was that other time I swore within children’s earshot. A child lobbed a sock full of wet sand at my girlfriend’s head, and, thankfully, I caught it like a slip fielder, thus preventing about two pounds of wet sand from crashing into her face. I marched up to the child in question, who was about 11, and screamed something like ‘DON’T BE SO FUCKING STUPID! HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF I THREW THIS IN YOUR FACE’  which was a very real possibility at that point such was my anger.

The entire playground fell quiet as the boy offered a high-pitched apology and legged it, with his one remaining sock, while I deposited the sock full of sand missile into a dog litter bin.

Perhaps my reaction was a little extreme, but someone could’ve been seriously injured, and I’m fiercely protective of my loved ones. A ‘Please don’t do that again. Here’s your two-pound bag of wet sand. Now run along then young fellamilad’ wouldn’t have cut it. Your honour.

Saturday I was trying to fix the flush in the loo. It’s a simple thing but each time I take the lid off the cistern, squeeze my hand into a tiny opening and unscrew this connection to reseat the seal, it doesn’t want to work. It hates me. I spend time taking it off and putting it on again, cutting my hands on the pointy and sticky out bits as I unscrew it, cutting my hands again on the pointy and sticky out bits as I screw it tight again, only for the slow drip to continue.

You’ve got to have pity on those in this house as there are two slow drips in the bathroom. One in the cistern and one trying to fix the thing.

As an aside, I have no idea how plumbers don’t just wet themselves laughing at some of the stuff they have to use. I went to a well-known hardware shop to buy some shizzle to fix this thing with, and came across pipe stiffeners, flanges, MANY flanges, some nipples and a snap-on cockhole cover. I guess plumbers must be immune to the hilarity of these terms, but it certainly explains why so many were cast as dramatis personae in 70’s porn movies, but I digress. Back to my plumbing.

Back from B&Q and upstairs to fix this thing for good, but I’m afraid to say frustration got the better of me on Saturday evening and I exploded in a rage. I was angry as I saw this as a failure of my role as a human man. I should be The Fixer of Things That Break and this had gone on for days, and was now mocking my very masculinity.  Conscious of my previous moments of annoyance, and the swearing that could came from my potty mouth, I tempered my words and shouted ‘CRIKEY BOTTOMS’ at the top of my voice while the cistern spismed water over me.

There was a moment of silence downstairs, and then I heard laughing. Lots of laughing.

I have therefore stumbled upon a new form of swearing, a new foul-mouthed lexicon which is not foul in any way, but can still adequately relieve the anger and frustration one experiences in modern life.

If a driver cuts in front of you on the M1 without indicating, forcing you to brake sharply, a ‘YOU MIFFING POTSACKER’ will suffice.

The food delivery order has arrived, but as you pack the items away playing fridge Tetris you notice the hummus has an expiry date of today. ‘YOU BUNCH OF HAIRY PING-PONG SNIFFERS’ will make you feel better about Tesco ripping you off royally.  You’re welcome.

You’re sawing something, and you cut off your hand or finger, and here’s where autocorrect has taught me something, a ‘AAAAAAGH! FOR DUCKS SAKE, CAN SOMEONE CALL THE DUCKING AMBULANCE. I’VE JUST CUT MY DUCKING HAND OFF’ is just as good as any sweary utterances, as consciousness leaves you and you black out on the bathroom floor.

So there I have it. I now have a new form of swearing that isn’t swearing it all but fufills the role adequately.

Shame I don’t have a fucking cistern that doesn’t fucking leak though.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

It strikes me…

The Beano

…that things have changed, a lot, and only now do I realise just how bad things have become.

Today I bought a copy of The Beano. Not for me, obviously, but to amuse a small person on a car journey.

I used to get The Beano every week, along with The Dandy and some other comic, Whizzer & Chips I think it was.  How the other commuters MOCKED me on the 7.18am from Tunbridge Wells to London Bridge.

I joke. I’m here all week, try the veal.

I was of course a wee pup, a striplet, a sapling, a small boy of 7 years old, and many an evening I’d retire to my bedroom, away from my alcoholic mother, to read my comics with glee, bought with my own pocket money earned by cleaning and washing so mum could stay in bed until two in the afternoon.

I was also a member of the Dennis and Gnasher Fan Club.

Today I’m just a member, and today The Beano costs £2.00.

Two. Actual. Pounds.

I asked the cashier for the defibrillator behind the counter as I paid, BY CARD, for this comic because I didn’t have enough cash on me.

Sad innit?

If I was a 7-year-old me, now, a) I’d need a time machine and a lot of excellent excuses, and b) I’d need pocket-money of about £10 a week to buy the things I used to love when I was a little Spencer. Inflation has pushed comics up to £2 or more a pop, so God knows how much other things would cost nowadays. Back in the day I could buy three comics, a quarter of cola cubes and a Jap Fancy and still have change from a pound note.

A pound NOTE! Blimey, that takes me back.

Some of you are so young you’ve probably never seen a pound note and thus have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s basically a pound coin, made from paper. A bit like a five pound note, but five times less in value. We ditched them as they were easy to forge and cost a lot to reproduce.

Unlike the £1 coin which costs a lot to produce and is easy to forge, but I digress.

While I’m explaining shizzle, I thought I’d just say a Jap Fancy is a cake, or at least it was a cake. It’s not a service provided by a lady who charges by the hour, but anyhow I digress. Again.

Two QUID!

Two. UTTER. Quid.

It strikes me that this happened, stuff happened, and no-one was looking or watching or paying attention to actually do anything about it.

Progress, progressed, and I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.

The same realisation struck me the other day in Asda, while scanning my own shopping. I was going to say ‘Back in the good old days’ but back then we had the threat of nuclear war, the prospect of acid rain and Stock, Aitken and Waterman, so I’ll eschew that phrase, ‘the good old days’.Years ago, you used to be able to put your shopping on the conveyor belt and someone would chat to you while they scanned it, and someone else would even help you pack your bags, cheerfully. They EVEN PRINTED THE CHEQUE OUT FOR YOU. All you had to do was sign it.

I was treated like a King.

Now I’m paying a lot of a lot more to pack and scan my own shit.

Progress eh? I may as well go and work in Asda as I’m doing all the donkey work now.

I daren’t ask if The Beano is still any good. If I found out it isn’t, having paid £2 for it, then I might have that heart attack that’s waiting for me.

Thanks for reading.