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From the Mouths of Babes

So this morning, nursing the mildest of hangovers, I sat on the couch with The Child watching the usual noise fuelled, distracto-drivel that passes for kiddies TV these days. The Child’s drug of choice today being the sporadically Spanish speaking gobshite Dora the Explorer.

As part of today’s adventure, Dora & her cohorts were required to cross a hiccupping bridge. A tricky conundrum, I’m sure you’ll agree, made trickier still by having five shapes being strewn across the bridge out of their respective holes.

In order to cross the bridge, it was claimed that they would have to scare the bridge in order to stop it from hiccuping (as opposed to making it drink some water from the wrong side of the glass). ‘How on earth are you supposed to scare a bridge?’ I pondered out aloud.

Without missing a beat The Child suggested ‘With a bat or something’.

Nice to see The Child applying the logic of a bit of ultra violence to resolve an issue there.

Sadly, backpack did not offer any weapons and the problem was ultimately solved by using a scary mask.

So, it appears 1 in 5 Public Sector workers will partake in widespread industrial action. As a Public Sector worker, I will be one of the other four that will cross the picket line.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and I’m certainly nowhere clever enough to really get to the nub of the matter. These are just personal musings I have err…mused(?)

I understand the feelings about the Coalition’s proposed Pension reforms of many of my colleagues. The trouble is, I’m resigned to the fact that pension reform will take place, and also, truth be told, I can see why it is necessary. I also think that perhaps this is an issue that really should have been got to grips with over 30 years ago when statistics back then would have already indicated that future pensions were going to be unsustainable. How strange that a generation that was set to reap the benefits of the then pensions status quo, didn’t rush to reform them back then.

I’m not a Union member and I wouldn’t have supported the action even if I was. Unlike the missus, who is a Union member, didn’t support the action, but is considering striking tomorrow in a bid to tackle a simply staggering pile of ironing.

I’m afraid I may just be too awash with apathy to ever engage in any type of demonstration from here until eternity. After all, if a bunch of spoddy teenagers and crusty hippy types, occasionally smashing a bank window or two can’t bring Capitalism to it’s knees, what possible difference could I make?

Millions of people globally took to the streets to mark their opposition to the Iraq war. Exercising their rights to free speech, whilst numerous governments exercised their rights to ignore the populace. I guess it was then I decided, life’s a crock of shit and no amount of flapping about with a placard was going improve this.

It appears the central issues are linked to the final salaries hoo haa and the much vaunted fact that we’ve a steeply growing, ageing population. Old people that spitefully refuse to die and inconveniently insist upon needing money that could much more usefully be spent on exciting things like Defence; lovely shiny new warheads that could be used to keep us all so much safer etc.

I strongly believe there is still much room for compromise. And, if the government were a bit more savvy about this,they could look to sew up a number of hot political topics. Clearly everyone is very concerned that in losing their final salary pension scheme they’ll be denied the opportunity to spend their twilight years on perpetual golfing holidays or on cruise ships, or whatever the fuck it was those lucky bastards that retired before the world turned into an economical cesspit did.

I think the government should look to offer to keep the final salary pension scheme, with a retirement age of 68 years, the only concession being that as a public sector worker you have to agreed to pop your clogs by the time you reach 82 years of age. This should be agreeable to any right thinking public servant and it would certainly appeal to euthanasia enthusiasts, as this would surely pave the way for to the right to die? It could be touted as some kind of fantastical early exit scheme.

I’m no mathematician and I certainly can’t be bothered to Google the answer, so I’ll just imagine that when inflation is taken into consideration, with the above proposed pension scheme, it’s likely that even the most lowliest of Civil Servants will retire with a millionaire’s pension. Imagine it. retiring on a millionaire’s pension and a solid 14 years in which to enjoy it all before you simply become a decaying, festering pile of skin, dribbling into your chest and being punched in the face repeatedly by disenchanted care workers, upset at the prospect of once again having to shovel the slurry from your underwear… just think about it. Finite Retirements, could be just the thing to liberate us all.

Yesterday, I laid a personal Demon to rest. The Demon in question was my inability to complete the 67 mile route of the Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge last year. So, all I have to say in regards to that is ‘In your face last year’s me, you pathetic, ill prepared, leg cramping goon you!’

Perhaps I’m being somewhat hard on last year’s me. There were a number of circumstances that lead to my lying prostrate at the roadside with viciously, almost terminally cramping legs after only 26 miles. Firstly, my bicycle became damaged in the six weeks leading up to the actual event which sorely affected my training. Secondly, there were a number of “personal issues” that resulted in terrible levels of stress. And finally, there was a week’s holiday in Tenerife directly before taking on the challenge.

It was the final issue that I believe was most responsible for my failure. Someone later explained to me that whilst lying in the sun on holiday I would have lost copious amounts of salt through sweat. Apparently, it is your body’s salt levels that reduce muscle cramping when engaged in rigorous exercise. Who knew? Well, apart from Sport Scientists, professional athletes and other people who may have taken notice in biology/P.E. lessons.

Last year’s miserable failure has hung over me like a dark cloud, and that’s despite the snazzy new road bike I bought earlier in the year, the many commuting miles I have done and the extensive weekend training I put in for the past few months. My main worry was all that was to be for nought. Having once again been on holiday in early June, I was a tad paranoid (to say the least) that the cramping episode was going to repeat itself again this year. The difference being, I had a whole two weeks to address this, rather than the two days I had last year after returning from my jollies.

For the past fortnight, I’d just about been lacquering everything from my salads to my Weetabix with salt. I also turned to drinking Isotonic sports drinks and copious amounts of water, much to my bladders agony, to try and put myself in some kind of shape to take on the Cyclone. It hasn’t been easy since returning from Turkey. I had two serious bouts of fatigue after having put in quite a few training miles and at points had serious concerns as to whether I’d complete the challenge this year.

For the three night’s leading up to yesterday, I had an amazing array of cycle related stress dreams that resulted in some really, really lousy sleep. So yesterday I awoke, still filled with trepidation. That dark cloud, metaphorically and in regards to the weather; actually hanging over me. The conditions weren’t ideal at the start of the challenge, but they could’ve been a Hell of a lot worse, the clouds having appeared to have shot their load in the early hours of the morning, but still hanging there malevolently, filled with the promise of yet another lash down.

The route (for any of you that have made it this far and still have even the faintest of interest) began and ended at Newcastle Falcon’s Rugby. Here is a LINK to give you some idea as to its gruellingosity. I only wish it could display more graphically the sheer dreadfulness of the climbs.

The first five miles of this event are always made more arduous by the fact that you leave the starting point in groups of 60 other riders. This invariably means navigating past bunches of riders on roads that, initially, are more heavily exposed to cars containing drivers enraged by the sheer numbers of cyclists obstructing their journeys. Once into the countryside, I was able to relax, with the numbers of cyclists becoming more stretched and less traffic to be concerned about I began to find my stride. Ten miles in I could already tell my legs were under far less duress than they had been at the same point last year.

I pressed on into roads I was less familiar with due to a change of route owing to the bridge works at Meldon. I recall at the twenty mile mark, a solitary figure, a lady sat on a box at the roadside, reading a book, stopping only to applaud the efforts of the cyclists who passed her by. I’d like to thank that lady for her support. I can’t really explain why, but that singular piece of encouragement really lifted my spirits and was responsible for me making my way to the first timing station with a spring in my pedal(?).

Despite the extra miles added, I was delighted to make it to the timing station a whole twenty five minutes quicker than I did last year, and more importantly, with legs that weren’t about to explode with massive cramps. After refuelling and a costume change (The T-shirt was brought out as at this point the cloud was beginning to burn off) I rejoined the route, treading carefully on the steep downhill towards Forestburn Gate as the roads were still treacherously greasy from the morning’s earlier downpour.

Rounding the corner at Forestburn Gate was significant for me, as at this point last year, a mere fifty metres or so into a mile uphill climb, my legs spectacularly exploded in the most vicious bout of cramping I have ever endured in my life. It was at this point last year I had to get off and walk, only able to coast on the downhills and cycle tentatively on the flat. That was the point where it had all gone so terribly wrong and I had passed it, without so much of a hint or twitch of cramping, and despite a further mile of uphill, I was able to relax even more.

Hills are a bastard. As a cyclist, there’s just no getting away from this fact. But, for every downside, there’s an upside, or in the case of hill climbing, quite the opposite. After the long and draining climb, I came to a long stretch of downhill, whereupon I recall looking at the speedometer to see 42 mph and letting out a very boyish ‘WOO HOO!’. I really was enjoying my run out in the country this time around, regardless of the seemingly endless hill climbs.

Speaking of hills, there are few as notorious as The Ryals in the Northumberland cycling community. Two, quickly successive, severely steep, shitty bastarding hills. Known to make grown men cry. I had never seen them before on account of dropping out last year but having heard their legend, I knew it was them upon first sight. I put the bike into the granny gear and attempted to ascend hill number one. About half way up, I began to struggle and being clipped into my pedals, almost came a cropper and fell, managing to unclip my foot at the very last second. I conceded defeat and walked up the rest of hill number one. Fearful of breaking my legs at this point, I took a seat, ate and drank numerous energy supplements and rubbed my troubled calves and mentally prepared myself for the next hill.

There was a brief run up to try an build up some speed, which I did, quickly flicking the gears into granny mode and dug down deep to propel my way to the top of the second hill. I was overjoyed to make it to the top without caving in, I knew then that that was the last of any serious climbs and that there was only 17 miles left to go. The remaining miles seemed like a breeze, especially after I made it to the second timing station with only 10 miles left to go. I knew how much I had left in the metaphorical tank and that the worst of the hills were behind me, I really put the foot down for the remainder of the challenge.

I made it back to the finish line at the rugby club with an official time (including stops) of 4 hours 31 minutes and according to my speedometer, time spent in the saddle of 4 hours 9 minutes. I was more than delighted with the time as it had been my ideal finishing time, but the point wasn’t how fast I could complete the challenge, but simply completing the challenge in itself.

Next year, I may well tackle the 104 miler.

Afternoon!

Thought I’d take a break from acting like a chemically smothered, self turning sausage and once again seek midday solace under a parasol. The missus is napping and The Child is being looked after by a stranger, so I figured I’d try my hand at constructing more sentences and paragraphs… perhaps I could entitle my inevitable travel guide, paragraphs from a parasol. Then again, perhaps not.

Further to yesterday’s musings about my being a cretinous, British pleb abroad, I thought I’d air some further anxieties for no other discernible reason than it fills some time in and to an extent keeps the brain in gear (well, sort of).

The inevitable question is looming. Is this year’s holiday better than last year’s or not?

The answer is not so easy to find. They’re both highly comparable in that the lounging about in the sun and eating at regular intervals have been virtually indistinguishable. So the differences are quite subtle. 

To an extent, it may be a case of Spain versus Turkey. And, as Spain have been handing the world it’s arse on a plate on the footballing Club and International front, I almost want to hand my personal holiday accolade to Turkey by default.

However, I’m not sure that I can. The truth is that so far I just feel naturally more comfortable in Spanish resorts. I like the casual exchanging of an ‘Ola’ here and a ‘Grassy arse’ there. Before we came to Turkey, I thought it was only polite to learn at least a handful of common words and phrases. Again, this was in a bid to feel slightly less like an ignorant, ill informed Brit abroad.

The thing that has surprised me is that no one at the hotel has uttered a single ‘merhaba’ by way of greeting. I attempted a tentative Turkish thank you, but due to the lack of local lingo being spouted anywhere, I think it lacked the required level of conviction. My suspicion of this was laid out, when the waiter I’d thanked looked upon me pitiably, and condescendingly patted me on the back in an “Aww bless him” kind of fashion.

As it turns out, my anxiety to be allowed to express myself with a smattering of actual Turkish words is apparently pointless. This observation was made by some fellow named Bob I got talking to at the bar last night. Bob has holidayed in Turkey on several occasions and when I mentioned to him  the distinct lack of Turkish being spoken throughout the hotel, he reassured me ‘You see’ he said, ‘they don’t want you to speak Turkish, ’cause they all speak very good English’.

So there we have it. We’re encouraged to be culturally ignorant. Apparently.

Still doesn’t answer the question of whether this holiday is any better than last year’s. I think for now I’ll regard it as being a score all draw. After all, the weather is lovely.

Stealing Sunshine

Well, I’m sat here by a pool in the blazing hot, Aegean sunshine, sheltering under a parasol, having overdosed on vitamin D yesterday. I’ve been lacquered up in sunscreen throughout so there’s no third degree burns. I’m probably being over cautious if anything.

This is our second family package holiday. I’ve had very little input into it. I think my total contribution may have been to simply utter the sentence “Yeah, why not? Book it”. People at work were incredulous that I hadn’t the faintest idea exactly where I was going “Turkey” being my preferred response. I did remedy this in the past week by finding out our destination proper, Google mapping it for extra geographical knowledge. Mappily speaking, we’re apparently spitting distance from Kos… whatever a Kos is.

The reason behind my lack of interest in our annual holiday is simple. I’m a creature fierce of habit, in that I am painfully dull in my approach to vacationing. I can’t pretend I’m looking to go on holiday as part of some great cultural exchange or learning experience. Essentially, I go abroad to loll about like a felled Walrus, stealing the designated country’s sunshine and little else.

Early on in my career as a holidayist, I made the mistake of signing up to a day trip in a bid to engage myself with the island, its heritage and customs. The trip took up the entire day, it was hot and exhausting. It was also centred around a visit to a church of some local, historical significance and some caves. It appears that this particular day trip is available on almost every single island/peninsula you’d care to visit.

After that misguided first foray into actual tourism, I knew then that spending a day walking about looking at things was not how I ever intended to spend another holiday. Regular sunshine and outdoor pools are at a distinct premium on the shores of Blighty and therefore, any opportunity to sit around catching a few rays is all I require from any trip abroad.

I am of course aware that this just makes me out to be the plebeian, foreign cretin I’d like to pretend I’m not. What makes it worse is the ‘Fully Inclusive’ aspect of my chosen holiday. It means I have the safety net of not even requiring to leave the hotel complex and (gasp) engage with the locals. Clearly this approach must be piss poor for the local economy but I’m buggered if I’d approach things in any other fashion. I’m a lazy, uncultured, western cretin with perhaps the only saving grace being, I’m not proud of it.

A Medium Built Aura

Last night, upon returning home and taking my seat at the dinner table to indulge in the classic combo of pie, peas and chips, lovingly heated up by the missus, a conversation was struck up. My good lady informed me that our mutual friend Mel (names have not been changed to protect the gullible) had been to see a Medium. Clearly, I must have successfully feigned some level of interest, as she persisted in recounting the tale.

Apparently, in amongst the usual string of lies and second guesswork peddled by these spiritual charlatans, he brought to Mel’s attention that she knew a man by the name of Paul. I know what you’re thinking; what ARE the chances of anyone knowing someone that goes by the name of Paul, I mean, it’s such a rare name?! Of course, there’s little point in a Medium bringing this level of insight to the fore without backing it up with some further spurious fact. Otherwise, mediuming would presumably devalue it’s “worth” if all that was involved was simply pointing out likely names of people you (might) know.

Disclaimer:This is not me, nor is it my aura

He’d gone on to say that a man she knew named Paul, who had a very good aura surrounding him, showing him to be a very good person. Now clearly, any person who has had the exceptional fortune to have met me in real life will know that this is quite obviously the case and that no Spirit Guides are required to clarify this.

At this point I am prepared to concede that of course the Medium is bang on the money with his spiritual assessment of my magnificent aura and all round goodness. I also concede that it is entirely plausible that there will be at least one or two Pauls in the North East that could also possibly fit this bill.

So, you’re asking, did Mel simply make a deductional leap and decide that I was without question THE best Paul she knew? Quite possibly. However, mathematically and logically speaking (even though I have it on good authority she actually knows at least seventeen different Pauls) this is of course highly probable, but of course, it is lacking in any real verification.

It seems our magical, mystical, mercurial(?) Medium didn’t leave this claim simply to chance. He qualified his assertion by clarifying this wonderful Paul as having a partner named Eleanor (my wife’s name strangers) THE BOMBSHELL! The unequivocal proof that the Spirit World was aware of my fantastic aura and all round loveliness!

He went on to claim that we were a lovely couple, that would go on to spend many happy years together. This is where he came a little unstuck, as he wouldn’t be aware of the dark heart that beats tremulously in the empty husk of our miserable sham of a marriage… (The beatings I take behind closed doors and the ritual humiliation I’m subjected to by my wife is quite frankly unspeakable, so I won’t. Speak about it that is). Clearly our Medium’s Spirit Guides neglected to mention my cynical viewpoint and suspicious, questioning nature. I’ll assume traits such as this have little effect on the overall gloriousness of auras in general.

I don’t know anything concerning the background of how Mel went about arranging to meet this Medium, so I’m assuming it’s pretty much the same as making an appointment with your G.P. save for the fact that a Medium shouldn’t have your medical records. A: Because that would be illegal and B: Why would he need them? He has spooks to look into any ailments you may be suffering. Oh and of course, unlike your G.P. he won’t have your records on file (unless you’re a regular attendee I s’pose) so presumably Mel booked a time to visit him and left her name.

Should this have been the case, then let’s face it, in an age when the world and your aunties are on Facebook, it doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to do a bit of profile scouring to gather a smattering of flimsy facts about complete strangers now does it? Alternatively, perhaps Mel’s mobile phone had been mistakenly left briefly with the Medium whilst she went to powder her nose, or empty her bowels. Providing our wily psychic charlatan with the opportunity to pry into her text messages. Leading him to invariably discovering a text from an Eleanor, describing some fantastical deed or other of an Paul. Is it possible he had a hurried rummage through the infinite recesses of Mel’s handbag, only to happen upon a hastily abandoned Christmas card, bearing upon it the names of an Paul and Eleanor?

Clearly, as displayed in the previous paragraph, there are an infinite number of logical, sensible ways in which our names as a couple could be found and linked to Mel. That side of matters as far as I’m concerned is entirely explicable. However, what’s really difficult to explain is just how this Medium was aware of my all round awesomeness. I am of course led begrudgingly to the conclusion that as far as the psychic plain is concerned, I ROCK!

I’ll take it as a compliment. Big up to my deceased massive… sorry you’re all dead!

Adventures in Twitterland

Hello reader!

It’s been a while since last I troubled the keys of the old laptop. However, I have been gifted over two weeks off from work for the Christmas holidays. I was meant to finish tomorrow, but thanks to this dreaded lurgy, it appears my last day at work was in fact last Friday. Which in essence sounds wonderful, but the truth is, I’d have rather stuck with the original plan and not spend four solid days being felled by a nefarious virus.

The missus has been crocked by a virus too, amid a plethora of other lady related infections and so forth… I haven’t pried too much, as is the case with most chaps, a woman’s plumbing is entirely her own business I’m sure. Despite my diseased state, I am on hand to assist my good lady in getting better.

Still, the missus’s illness woes have meant that for the first time in aaages, I have managed to get direct access to the laptop. So, ‘every silver cloud…’ as they say.

Last night, whilst pissing about on Twitter @profanityswan was keeping me entertained with his #MiracleTrain3 tweets. During which he was followed by another Tweetbot @Potato1, to which he announced ‘ALL OF HER TWEETS ARE AMAZING’.

Needless to say, I was simultaneously amused and intrigued, so I popped over to see what @Potato1 had been Tweeting about. There were two tweets. Painfully generic in nature, as most Tweetbot Tweets tend to, be in the interest of purporting to be an actual person.

What also struck me about this two tweet tweetbot, was that it had over 500 followers. I couldn’t quite get my head around this and assumed that most of the numbers were likely to be made up of other tweetbots and the like. However, as I trawled through the list of followers, it soon became apparent that real people were on there.

I couldn’t quite get my head around why anyone wants to follow someone/thing on Twitter that has Tweeted twice with a three month gap between each Tweet. I decided that the people upon this list must have been easy pray for follower desperate Twittery types. So, being a kick up the arse from that magic 100 followers figure, I decided to take matters into my own hands (rather than tweeting at a celebrity for help in this regard) and went on a #FollowBack Frenzy. I think I may have doubled the number of people I followed in the space of twenty minutes.

When I returned to Twitter today, I was surprised to discover that I’d had a one in four success rate in relation to the follows I’d set up last night. My Twitter feed was a nightmare, largely composed of all the strangers I’d followed from the night before. It really is beyond my comprehension as to how people cope with feeds that go beyond 100 let alone thousands plus.

I’ve suffered the pain of being exposed to terrible grammar, awful spelling and worse, txt spk. If I want that kind of thing, I’ll pop across to Facebook. There’s now a rich mixture of all sorts of shit in my feed that I wouldn’t have willingly selected to be there. Much of it appears to be racist, sexist or just plain stupid (but not stupid in a good way). Many of my favourite Twittists were lost in the melee, so I was forced to create a list to keep my favourites close to hand.

I don’t know if it’s a British thing, or just a personal preference, but after having indiscriminately followed all these people, I feel a little obliged to wait for at least seven days before dropping them. I think it’s because I’ve seen this tactic deployed on me and because I never bite and #FollowBack they’ve usually disappeared the next day.

I think my difficulty is that I want Twitter to be a personal experience. I’ve been signed up to Twitter for over two years, but only really started using it six months ago. In those six months I had largely, carefully selected around 75 Twittists to follow, many of whom appealed to my values, beliefs and most importantly, my sense of humour. I like to interact and to banter with people.

What I discovered, and really, I shouldn’t have been surprised by this, is that some people actually collect followers and hitting number of follower targets is seemingly their sole purpose for being on there. To me, this seems to defeat the very purpose of what Twitter is for and is just a little more than distasteful. Each to their own I suppose.

However, from this random act of buggering about following people, I appear to have inadvertently made some new friends to play with, so it’s not all bad. Perhaps I’ll just go on a #FollowBackFrenzy on the lists of people I know and get on well with and see what occurs from there.

Then again, perhaps I’ll just go back to my tried and tested method of gradually gathering in like minded people and just enjoying the craic. Playing the numbers game is quite frankly for sheeple.

Friday Night Neighbourly Nonsense

Here’s one I’ve dragged from the old MySpace blogging archives, to provide something to read for World of Sheds, as she was so kind to dish out props earlier on Twitter and comment on my other offering earlier in the week. x

It was one of my neighbours, Ken’s 30 th Birthday and consequently the need had arisen for them to hold a party. I really don’t know why they bother to actually hold parties in these homes/glorified shoe boxes in which we live? So many people crammed into such a confined space with a surplus to requirements level of alcohol really is simply a recipe for disaster.

Dave next door seems to be wracking up a house party per month as of late. We have been invited on a number of occasions to join them and have conceivably declined more often than we’ve been offered. I suspect that the invitation is just a token gesture and just a cheeky way of letting us know that we are to be subjected to five to six hours of rowdy housebound rabble rousing and drunken singalongs of (usually) Queen songs.

Last night however, presumably due to the 30 th Birthday occasion, they had decided to amplify the rabble rousing and singalongs, literally. Yes, some genius had taken it upon themselves to bring along a Karaoke machine, so we had all the usual shouting x10.

Things started off badly. After four successive songs on the trot, I had to be restrained from heading next to put an end to the hideous caterwauling of what sounded like a pre-pubescent girl murdering a handful of already awful songs. I could only presume that the encouragement she may have been receiving to continue would only result in yet another tuneless, exploitative and humiliating audition for X-factor somewhere down the line. If I had gone round there and told her exactly how fucking awful she was, I’d have been doing her a favour really.

Olivia looked genuinely terrified by the continuing awful racket as we attempted to put her to bed. Luckily she was absolutely knackered and went over sooner than expected. With the child asleep, I attempted to acclimatise my self to the noise, looking to block it out by the consumption of my own alcoholic stash.

A rendition of My Way was butchered by presumably all the male attendees, leading me think the unthinkable “come back Ray Quinn, all is forgiven, there’s nothing abhorrently mawkish about a 17 year old singing My Way at all if you ask me now” and to wishing that Sid Vicious was still alive today so that I could kill him all over again myself for paving the way for idiots to have a stab at mob singalongs.

As I became wrapped in my comfortable whisky fug, my tolerance of next door’s nonsense grew, and despite having a quiet night ruined I managed to enjoy the highlights of yesterday’s Reading Festival highlights courtesy of auntie beeb.

As I stood brushing my teeth just before hitting the hay I became vaguely aware of raised voices coming from next door’s back garden. Seemingly, two of the female guests were sparring over the reputed looseness of one or the others morals and underwear. A strong defence was put forward by the accused who categorically stated she hadn’t been putting it about at all over the past six years since her daughters were born. This is a lie, as we know for a fact that there has been at least three “suitors” in as many weeks. Still, I had to admire the sheer brass neck of her to stand in front of a crowd of people and execute such a lie with platinum coated conviction.

Voices were raised further, and by this time I was joined in the bathroom by my good lady for a good old fashioned piece of ear wigging. Ken, the Birthday protagonist and skilled diplomat attempted to douse the flames of fury by laying claim to the idea that “all women are sluts, every last one of them!” I’m not sure what it was that he was hoping to achieve with his mind bogglingly offensive, sweeping statement. Perhaps in his beer addled mind he’d imagined that everyone, including the womenfolk there would turn to one another in communal harmony and agree that Ken the wise sage was in fact right “all women are sluts” and that would be an end to it.

As it was, Mrs Ken was curious to know if she was included in her husband’s branding of the fairer sex. “The lot of ye’s, ye’s are all the same” came the reply along with some other drunken nonsense about split arses and such like. Well, needless to say, the blue touch paper had been well and truly lit at this point. A grapple between Ken and his stepson (clearly defending his mother’s honour) ensued, along with a whole host of shouting and shrieking.

Fearful of this fracas disturbing the bairn, I headed downstairs to try and bring them to a sobering stop. I opened the back door and stepped out. My presence was not registered by the drunken throng; however, it seemed to be simmering a bit so I held back from making my objections to the rowing crowd known. Meanwhile, the missus was already on the phone to the boys in blue, which I felt was unnecessary but the damage was done; a squad car was to be sent to “check things out.”

I should like to bring to your attention that all of this took place in front of five or so children all under the age of six. It really beggars belief that children were a) even allowed to be there and b) that as grown adults they couldn’t have found the common sense to stop the arguments in front of the children before they became so heated.

I had always previously held back from making any outright judgements against any of my neighbours but simultaneously have always kept myself at arms length, suspecting that they were always knuckle dragging Neanderthals at their core. Friday night’s escapades have only served to prove my suspicions right. I know that it is blatant snobbery but it has made me realise that I really need to find a better paid job and look to move to a better area.

These incidents may be very few and far between but it is the mindset of the people I am surrounded by that I want no part of and I worry about the possible outcomes that remaining here may have on Olivia’s development.

At least now I have the ammunition on my side to warrant blatant neighbourly ignorance and can now avoid those stilted, polite exchanges with the fuckers.

Making the Breast of it

This morning, bereft of any entertaining reading material to help reduce the monotony of my daily commute, I decided to put this time to good use. Choosing to indulge in a bit of mobilular phonical housekeeping (yup, them’s proper words thems are) having noticed that the scrolling bar on my sent and received text messages was minute to the point of being infinitesimally small.

I find it can be quite interesting, trawling through old text messages, as they tend to provide a wee textual snapshot of where I was and what I was up to, and in some cases, how drunk I was at the time of sending each text.

So I found I rather enjoyed my administratively minded walk down this textual memory-lane, having forgotten exactly when, many of the various exchanges relating to social gatherings, gigs and beer festivals had taken place across the course of the year so far. It may not surprise you to learn that my verbosity cannot be confined by the limitations of space allotted to SMS messaging. Indeed, I seem to relish the challenge of filling up as much space as is possible to ensure value for money is gained… although admittedly, I will on occasion, sink as low as to use the mangled bastardisation of our language that is TXT spk … I never feel good about this, but sometimes that message just isn’t worth spending an extra ten pence upon.

Where was I?…

Oh yes, texting and that… ahem…

During the dredging of my text messages, I happened to notice a particularly alarming trend. Sprinkled intermittently amongst my more frivolously friend based forays in textuality were a good number of messages sent to my good lady wife… Now you! Texts to the wife wasn’t the alarming aspect! But rather, the content of these messages. You could be forgiven for imagining that these were heartfelt personal paeans, declaring my undying love for the darling dearest mother of my beautiful child. Or even that they were saucily centred, sensuously sexy, suggestions of lascivious seduction, you could be forgiven for imagining that, but you’d be wrong…

Depressingly, more often than not, they were largely comprised of discussions
concerning food, usually about what would be for that coming night’s
tea-time. And an unhealthy amount of them related to my apparent obsession with chicken breasts, and in particular, their subsequent placement either in or out of the freezer, depending upon the position of the aforementioned chicken breasts in relation to either their levels of frozenness or their approaching of a best before date.

Clearly, this is yet another dizzying milestone in a life that squarely refuses to accept the imposing boundaries of its own mundanity , seeking to leap ever grander heights of banality with each passing year…

Chicken breasts?! Bloody chicken breasts!

Like Communism in Reverse

So we’re about to endure savage public spending cuts, and watch as a potential million more people are thrown on the scrap heap. Whilst the banking industry is about to hand out massive pre Christmas bonuses and it’s the French that are rioting? Hmm…

I am right in thinking there’s something not quite right with this picture aren’t I?

How do we just seem to take this kind of thing lying down?

I didn’t vote for this, nor did many other people, but I did vote and it’s all just so terribly wrong.

The bailing out of the banking industry was just perversely like the idea of communism in reverse and now finally it seems its about to hit us all very hard indeed.

The mind boggles and despairs…