Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The age of doom

I'm forty in a few weeks time, and I'm really not looking forward to it. I've banned parties, as I don't feel the need to 'celebrate', plus I've had a gutsful of other people's fortieth parties over the last few months.

Is forty old ? It's older than thirty nine for sure, but is it really old ? Odds are that I'm over halfway to pushing up daisies, which is a tad fatalistic, but probably right. I just don't feel forty, whatever feeling forty is, but I'm fairly sure I don't want to feel it anyway.

What have I achieved in forty years ? I've managed to be fortunate enough to have a happy relationship with a woman I love very much, and have two children from our marriage that I am proud of and adore, but that's not really an achievement as such is it ? I am fairly successful if life achievement can be judged in monetary terms, which more importantly means I more than provide for my family. I have managed to have career happiness, but that sure took its fucking time, and I sure as hell made some gargantuan fuck ups on the way. I have travelled extensively and was fortunate to spend quite a bit of my childhood living in different countries. But again, are this things I've achieved, or simply things that have happened to me ?

This is not a post I've enjoyed reading back, it's whiny, and I'm not generally whiny, but I'm just not looking forward to being in my forties. A is sensible enough, and knows me well enough ( I hope) not to bollocks around with surprise parties. In the event that she is foolish enough to do so, I will invite the assembled throng to politely fuck off, and go and drown myself in a vat of red wine.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


As the clock winds down to the start of the bank holiday, the inevitable happens.

It starts to sodding rain.

Four days off work, and it's going to piss down. 'Triffic.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I seem to have left something out..........

We are Welsh and we are mighty !

It was a bit good and a few beers went down the hatch on Saturday. (Polite speak for being deliriously banjaxed)
Yesterday I went up to the big smoke to see the specialist at the London Migraine Clinic. It all went swimmingly well, and she will be writing to my Gp to tell him how and when to treat me, and what medication is required. It's a bloody huge relief, I'm finally going to get some pain management, which should make coping a bit easier. Also, studies have shown that for cluster headaches to persist in adult males in their forties is rare, so there is an upside to the dreaded soon to be birthday.

I went on the train. For the first time in years, I had a trip which could actually work on public transport. Going up was fine. I read the paper and spent a lot of time mooching out of the window at the vast expanses of water that currently make up the English countryside. There are those that love London, and big cities in general, and I am fully appreciative for their reasons for doing so, but, every time I visit London or any city, I am truly thankful that I live tucked away in the sticks. I find it noisy and smelly, and struggle with the sheer volume of people. I spent around fifty minutes in total on the tube. If I had to do that every day I would scream long slow agonising howls. It's bloody horrible.

Anyway, after the fruitful consultation with the head doctor, I set off to met an old friend for a drink. An old girlfriend in fact. We were bf/gf in our early teens at school, and I've only seen her once since we went our separate ways. It really was great to catch up. Funny how you change. I'm married with children, and she's still single, which is probably the opposite of how we would have viewed ourselves twenty odd years ago.

The train was late on the way back, and I didn't get into the station until 10.40, but I had a good book, and a rather yummy selection of sushi I'd grabbed from a Japanese food stall in Piccadilly.
London does have its uses, you try getting decent sushi in rural Worcestershire !

Friday, March 14, 2008

Filthy,dirty,robbing bastards

The three petrol station closest to me are now selling diesel for £1.17 per litre.

It's getting beyond silly

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Touch me Darling

He really is one of the least charismatic politicians, and out of the current bunch of wooden lookalikes, that takes the biscuit, and I must say I'm a bit baffled by his budget. Essentially, it is a tax raising budget, but all done with the finesse of Kelvin MacKenzie. Where was the financial nous ? Sadly lacking. It was a tabloid budget. £950 on a gas guzzler, and make us think it's a green tax ? nonsense, it's a showroom tax, simple as, another way of generating revenue, but why dress it up? Call it a spade, we need a bit more cash, and this is one way we're going to do it.
Everyone in this country is an addled alky, so we'll bang on a few pence there as well, oh, and we'll do it year on year, and carrier bags, greatest problem facing the nation so we'll damn well sort that out to.
Carrier bags ? For fucks sake, bandwagon politics at its worst. perhaps I'm a simpleton, but I'd rather they concentrated on the mess that is our foreign policy, the the insanity of violent crime, and the scandal of all fuel prices. But I suppose that as long as there are less plastic bags on the street I should be content.
Politics generally is starting to drive me potty. I take more than a passing interest, we'll all should, but increasingly, all the parties are merging into one uniform mess, with very little separating them apart from an egotistical urge for power. As individuals, some actually make me cough up a little bit of sick when I see them. Some in this category (but by no means all) are;
Lembit Opik - As useless a tosser as you are likely to meet, and horribly oily with it
Ruth Kelly - There is no excuse for Ruth Kelly
Anne Widdecombe - She actually considered herself leadership material, crassly delusional
David Miliband - Horribly scary 'perfect' labour droid, vastly out of his depth.
The list could go on and on. Oh, and David Cameron just comes across as a bit of a twat. Nothing that offensive, you could be having a conversation with a friend, describing a mutual acquaintance who your friend is struggling to remember, and you may say' You know, wassisface, lawyer, lives a couple of doors down from the pub, okay bloke, bit of a twat though'
'Ohhhh yeah, I know who you mean'
Bit of a twat in that way.

On an entirely more agreeable subject, my wife has had her long hair cut short, very short, and she looks stunning. She's had long hair for as long as we've known each other, and for some time before that. I couldn't picture her with short hair, and nor could she herself. It was very spur of the moment. We were shopping and I told her I needed to zip to the office to pick up a file and was told, 'Okay I'll meet you in the library I'm going to have my hair chopped off' , simple.
Now, even on a bad day with a hangover Mrs Gumpher is a fine specimen, but with this new look, I tell thee, she is smokin', I'm a lucky chap.

Monday, March 03, 2008

More frolics in the Wye Valley, but a lot further down this weekend. Boy 2 was off to a birthday party on Saturday, so I suggested to Boy 1 that we load up the bikes and head out. I'd found a recently opened trail called The Peregrine Way, which is the old railway track between Ross on Wye and Monmouth. The cycle trail has been done so that you can ride next to the river from Monmouth to Symonds Yat and back.
Picnic made, we set off. It was glorious , we were passed by a few other serious cyclists (all dayglo lycra and go faster helmets) and passed the occasional jogger, but most of the time it felt as though everyone had vanished and we were the only people on the planet. It was wonderfully quiet. The river was deeper than at Builth, and faster flowing. We stopped to watch canoeists larking about in the rapids, looked like great fun.
We reached Symonds Yat and the sense of being alone vanished, it was very busy with tourists, but then it is very pretty. Last year, we put an offer in on a cottage overlooking the Wye at Symonds Yat. At the time it seemed to make sense. The village we live in has become crazily expensive for property, and although we love our house, the garden is quite small, and with two growing hooligans we felt the need for more space, so we looked further afield, where we get get get a lot more for our money, and settled on Symonds Yat. In hindsight, I'm glad we didn't get the house. Yes it was in a beautiful spot, but being there on a sunny spring day, made me realise just how busy it would have been. Also, we are very happy where we are, we have lots of good friends, as do the boys, and they go to a great school in the village.
We turned back and found this spot for lunch. (at top, cocked up positioning)
We cycled back stopping at the Biblins foot bridge. I'm not good with heights, and also the bloody thing wobbles like an excited jelly, but over we went. (cocked up again !)
It was a great day out, and I really enjoy spending one to one time with either of the boys.
Earlier in the week, we'd had parents evening. It went as expected, Boy 1 , a joy to teach, well mannered, doing well. Boy 2, hmmm. J is a problem, he has always been exceptionally bright. His elder brother is no fool, but he works very hard as well. J has set himself a mission, and that mission is to be the class clown, and he's succeeding, but succeeding at make himself a royal pain in the arse, disrupting the class and not going forwards himself. It was coming, his behaviour at home is fairly dire. The difficulty is, there's never any malice in what he does, he's a hugely affectionate and tactile little chap, but also a nutter. The thing is, we are strict. I cannot abide badly behaved kids, but J is turning that way. We have defined boundaries, and punishments for overstepping those boundaries, but it seems not to bother him. It causes problems with A and I, as we argue as to the best way forward, so the atmosphere in Gumpher Towers is generally rather frosty at the moment. The whole parent thing is a constant learning curve, and nothing I had done prior to being a father had prepared me for it.