Friday, December 10, 2010

London, yesterday. Update

The utter cocksocket on The Cenotaph has come clean and issued what sounds like a professional press release, rather than an apology.

He, (I thought it was a woman, girlie looking twat) is one Charlie Gilmour, the son of one of my favourite guitarists, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.

I bet he would really struggle to pay back tuition fees.

London, yesterday

I don't know what the answer is to tuition fees. Let's get that straight from the outset.

But what happened yesterday is not the answer.

Do we teach our children that if you disagree with something, simply get out onto the streets and start smashing the place up?

I followed it through social, rather than news media, and I was simply stunned by the attitude of some of the people who were taking part.

And as for the police brutality accusations. If you start chucking snooker balls and scaffolding pipes at police officers and police horses you are breaking the law, and it's highly likely that the police are going to take action to stop you. So don't fucking bleat if you get cracked with a baton. And as for the 'charge' by police horses, what a load of bollocks, they barely got into a trot.

If you feel strongly about something, you have a democratic right to protest, not that I personally think it makes that much difference. See the numbers at the Stop the War and Countryside Alliance marches. You do not however, have the democratic right to kick off to get your point across.

I hope that stupid bitch who swung on the flag on The Cenotaph is tracked down by the media and publicly shamed, the same goes for the little runt pissing on Churchill's statue. It can't be that difficult, they managed to identify a woman shoving a cat in a wheelie bin after all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I am properly ill. I have even jibbed out of tonight's game of squash, I am that properly ill.

My wife is a towering beacon of sympathy. Not. She claims that I have a mild case of manflu. Bollocks, this almost qualifies as manthrax, so severely has it debilitated me. I am even struggling to drink beer and smoke fags. I told you it was serious.

I am off to my Mum's in Abergavenny tomorrow night, hooligans in tow. I shall return on Saturday, they won't. It's half term, they're going to stay with Grandma, yay!

On Saturday morning I have more family duties to fulfill. I will call in to see my Grandfather who is now ninety one, and not in the best of health. I hope he's not too confused, Mum says he's had a bad couple of weeks. After that it's have lunch with my Grandma. She's eighty seven, quite sprightly, but has aged noticeably in the past few years, particularly in the ear department. There will be lots of shouting.

In the evening, I'll force myself off my deathbed to attend a cocktail party. This may sound sophisticated. It won't be. It will be all of the usual suspects drinking as much as they can before it's time to leggit home for the babysitter.The only difference being that we'll be getting squiffy on mojitos instead of beer and wine. The men may be wearing slightly smarter shirts than usual.

On Sunday I'll be waddling off my hangover with a training session at the rugby club. Despite my son being away, and despite my manthrax, I will honour my coaching commitment. Grudgingly.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kids insults

Why am I getting so irritated by the kids using the term 'gay' as an insult?

It seems to be applied to everything,. Gay hair, gay rugby boots, gay cars. It really pisses me off and my two get a right bollocking when they use it. Which doesn't seem to deter them.

Pillock is another current favourite of my eldest. Delightful.

I'm also sick and tired of hearing and reading about some potato faced, slapper shagging, scouse mutant who apparently is struggling to make ends meet on a few million quid a year and wants to sod off to someplace with more cash and a better class of hooker.

I was quite happily listening to an interview on 5live with Ben Fogle when they cut to some puce faced Scottish bully talking as though there had been a family death.

Sodding football and our media's constant frenzy with it is dull, dull, dull.

Now switched to Spotify and Alison Krauss with Robert Plant to accompany the drabness of the year end.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sometimes, life is good, but there are caveats. See below.

Gumpher on deck, and the beautiful Josh

At times, life is shit

I've just got off the phone after a long conversation with a wonderful friend.

His Mother is dying from cancer. Chemo has stopped working, and she has months to live.

I took my beautiful boy to his school for problem children this morning, as I do every morning.

He cried as I made his breakfast, he cried as we got in the car.

He sobbed his heart out in great gulping heaves and clamped himself to me as I left him at school.

I stopped in a layby, started a Marlboro, and howled like a wolf.

Sometimes, you just have to play the cards you are dealt.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Apprentice

It's back again.

Where on earth do they get these people from? Does anyone work with people who behave and talk like this?

Every year, I assume (always wrongly as it turns out) that this time they will weed out the tosser element.

Dan, the chap that got fired. Good grief. 'My motto is JFDI, just fucking do it'. Yep, you went on national television and actually said that. What the hell is wrong with you?

Stuart, the annual 'Little Britain' character, calls himself 'The Brand'. Really, he does, and in deadly seriousness. Don't these people have friends? If I had a chum who referred to himself as 'The Brand' (unlikely) I'd have to tell him, 'Look, mate, you know this 'Brand' thing, it makes you sound like a complete prick. Stop it. Now.

Melissa is a food distribution specialist. Last night's task was to make and sell sausages. When asked if she wanted to be team leader, she responded, 'Good God, no', and then proceeded to spend the rest of the task telling the team leader how she should be doing it. Not in a normal way, in a strange screeching way.

Raleigh is an unemployed undergraduate (PPE, my fave) who is so posh, he actually sounds inbred. I suppose that's what happens when generations of cousins keep marrying. His sole contribution was to go all red in the face and boggle eyed and bray 'Shameful!' at JFDI. I think he'd struggle to clean the khazi in a KFC, so quite why he thinks he qualifies for a position paying 100k p.a is beyond me.

Another of the ladies has a superb pornstar name, Paloma Vivanco. Made up surely?

A few weeks of hands covering eyes, did they really say that? moments to look forward to.

I'm glad Dara O'Briain got the gig for the follow up show. I suspect a few of the fired candidates will have some entertaining piss taking to look forward to.

I'm going sailing this weekend. The Solent. In October. Needless to say I was the worse for wear when I committed to it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Boys weekend

I have had a weekend based entirely around the hooligans.

Amanda cleared off to a spa with a bunch of chums, leaving us to our own devices.

On Saturday we went to a hill climb. Never been before. Bloody hell those cars shift up the narrow track, mental the lot of them. It was an American themed day, so other than the racing there was a fair bit to do and see. Rather strangely, they had six full sized working daleks there. Strange, as in daleks aren't exactly what springs to mind with an American themed motor sport event. They even had their own race up the straight, much to my Doctor Who obbsessed offsprings' delight.

They both had their first rugby matches of the season on Sunday. Nothing much to be learnt from Charlie's game as they spanked the opposition 59-0. He was very gracious about it afterwards. Some of the guys from the other club are in his year at school, but he was at pains to point out that he wouldn't be gloating as he would be distraught to be on the end of a hiding like that. Didn't stop him dishing out some bone crunching tackles on said mates during the game, he really does love a bit of bosh. Joshie's mob not so good. They won one and lost one. He still plays tag as he's only seven. He sauntered over afterwards an casually announced to Charlie that he'd 'only' bagged three tries. He knows it winds him up, Charlie gets three in a good season, but he is a hooker, not exactly known for prolific scoring.

Monday was a bit fraught for Josh, his first day at the short stay school. He and I had been to meet the staff the previous Friday and had his induction. I was very impressed with the staff and the head, and he professed to be looking forward to Monday. It was a bit of an eye opener. We all went together, as Amanda missed the induction. As we were buzzed into the corridor, it was fairly obvious that there was a child on the other side of the door going properly mental, he even smashed a window. Josh looked terrified. Eventually the child was calmed down and taken home. When we left, the little boy sat at his new desk was subdued to say the least. He ended his day in the green zone (good all day) and was allowed his choice of activity. He chose computer time. I asked why he didn't choose playground time, he said he was scared of the boys who had tantrums.

It's a shite situation for him, but, it's the only schooling solution we have. He's there for six weeks and they have a 91% success rate in successfully reintroducing the short stay kids back into mainstream education. There's only five kids in has class, with two teachers. Worryingly, he is the only child in the school who is not on some form of medication. We're back at the pediatrician again tomorrow. It goes on.........

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Political nobbers

The set is complete, chock full of total dweebs.

Never before has a Blackadder quote been more appropriate.

'I say, Blackadder, are you sure this is the PM? Seems more like an oily tick to me. When I was at school, we used to line up four or five of his sort, make 'em bend over, and use 'em as a toast rack'

Oily little ticks indeed.

All in their early forties and and all have done virtually fuck all other than be politicians. Apart from Ed of course, silly me, he was 'briefly' a television journalist. Ed and Dave have PPE degrees, normally the realm of those who go to Oxbridge with the sole intention of getting a Blue, rather than furthering their education. Nick has a degree in Social Anthropology whatever that is, and yet they all claim to be in touch with us.

Ed looks like an extra from 'Inbetweeners', Nick appears to be scurrying around Westminster like a newly appointed school prefect, dishing out lines to all and sundry as he relishes in his newly found power. I'm not really sure what the new head boy Dave does, I'm not sure he knows either.

Never before have we had such a collective bunch of dorks in Westminster. Can't wait to see Ed get his buns toasted by those naughty rough boys from the Unions. 'Oi Milliband, give us your lunch money, you know you said you would'

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Another post about Boy 2, but it is a very dominant factor in our lives at the moment.

After a very long time when we thought we were banging our heads against a brick wall, it is truly remarkable how quickly things spring into action once the diagnosis of ADHD was made.

It's all rather daunting, (for us as parents) so goodness knows how he's going to feel about it. It's very difficult to know exactly what is right, and what is wrong, all we are doing is taking on board professional advice and trying to make the best decisions for him.

We've decided not to medicate him, against the advice of the pediatrician, only time will tell if we've done the right thing. We have done as much research as we can, and ultimately have come to the decision that we are not prepared to accept the potential risks of the side effects. He is our seven year old child, and we must do what we feel is the best for him.

We have instead, opted for behavioural therapy, and he has been referred to see a clinical psychologist. They will help him try to understand his behaviour, and help us with coping strategies.

He is going to be removed from the village school for a six week period and placed in a Pupil Referral Unit, where they will work with him to develop his classroom control to allow him to remain in mainstream education, which he is entitled to do. We are going to visit the school shortly, but their latest Ofsted report has given us a lot of hope.

I know that everything I've written seems very matter of fact, but that's the only way I can deal with it. A lot of the time, I have no idea of how his mind is working, and I cannot imagine how difficult this process is going to be for him, but constantly try to reassure myself that we are making the right choices for him.

I just want him to be happy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Autumn blues

I don't like this time of year. Summer has gone, and the gloom of dark evenings looms.

I haven't posted about the end of our summer (more about why later) but we had three great camping weekends despite the weather. Good times with wonderful friends. Particularly memorable was seeing The Flaming Lips at The Green man Festival. Fabulously bonkers and the best live act I've seen.

My legal battle with the fuckwit company who decided not to pay my management fees rumbles on, and continues to cost a crazy amount in fees. I'm hoping to progress to mediation, but my usual cynical nature kicks in when yet another bill arrives. It's very much brought me down. It's made me anxious, I've lost weight, and I'm finding hard to concentrate on all the other aspects of my work. Thankfully, I've not hit the booze (having been down that route before) but it's been, and continues to be a thoroughly unpleasant episode in my life.

The general mood is not improved with the ongoing situation with Boy 2, although there has been progress. He's been diagnosed with ADHD, but I'm not convinced, and feel that they need to explore the possibility of Asperger's in greater detail. He's struggling at school, and continues to pretty much hate it. The immediate suggestion has been medication, but I am not convinced by both the long and short term effects of the drugs commonly used.

He can be a very difficult child, but he is also a very loving and talented little chap, who is having a very hard time. He's only seven, and it's sometimes very difficult to be a father and see the son you adore struggling with life at such a tender age.

On a more positive note, Boy 1 has started middle school and is on cloud nine. He loves it. He's been placed in the top set for all subjects, which he has worked hard to achieve. We're very proud of him, and very relieved that he's made the transition to 'big school' so smoothly and with such obvious enjoyment.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Thrills, spills, and camping

Yesterday, the hooligans and I pootled down to Monmouth with our bikes and cycled along the Peregrine Path which follows the River Wye from Monmouth to Symonds Yat.

The weather was good, and it was a great ride, with wonderful scenery. We picnicked on the way, grabbed an ice cream in Symonds Yat, and turned around for the return journey.

Boy 2 insisted on weaving at speed on the gravel track, despite my repeated warnings that at some point he was going to come a cropper, and it would hurt. As with much of Boy 2's life, he learnt the hard way, and over the handlebars he went in spectacular fashion. He was bloody lucky, not that he thought it at the time. I whipped out the first aid kit (pretty much goes everywhere with us with our deathwish offspring) and started cleaning him up. Gashed chin, cut hands, not too bad.

He proceeded to howl the Wye Valley down, screaming for his Mum, hospital, and bizarrely, a lifeboat. My efforts to calm him down were largely unsuccessful, leading to Boy 1 to declare. 'I'm off, I'll meet you at the next corner, you two look mental, and I don't want people, to think we're related.' Off he went shaking his head and I'm sure I heard him mutter 'Lifeboat? Nutter'


The next two weekends will be tent based and we have finally upgraded our faithful four man job, too a rather natty new one with three sleeping compartments. Oh, the luxury, and it was end of line and cost very little.

This weekend with friends for a chums birthday party in mid Wales, and next weekend with another group of friends at the Green Man Festival. I'm very much looking forward to both. Let's hope for some decent weather.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Yay! Talktalk, finally sorted

After six months of phone calls, the email sent below finally solicited a response which resolved the situation.

But they told me off for swearing.

An incident was created in RightNow:

Subject: Billing

Contact Data:

First name: Gumpher

Last name


Mobile Phone:

Home Phone:

Office Phone:

Incident Data:


Customer: Gumpher at 2010-08-01 22:58:26

I cannot access my account, as despite phoning you every month for the past

six months, you have consistently been unable to recognise that my email

address is, not

Each time I have phoned, the person on the end of the call has assured me

that the problem has been rectified, yet each time it has not.

I cannot access my bills. Until I see a bank statement, I do not know how

much you are charging me.

This situation has now gone beyond annoying, and descended into customer

service of such shite proportions that it is simply farcical.

Are you capable of getting this right? What do I have to do to make you

get it right? Why did some fool at your end change my email address? It's

been the same for years., NOT fucking

I await your reply, but suspect that there are chimps in zoos who could

help me more.

Go on, give it a whirl, otherwise I'm going to BT,and you can stick your

contract up your arse, as a contract is a two way thing.

Incident ID: 5824267

Incident reference: 100801-001615

Incident Subject: Billing

Monday, August 02, 2010

Back again

We swam in the surf on near empty beaches.

We caught lots of crabs.

We ate grilled sardines and fried eels.

We had ice cream every day.

We drank near frozen Sagres and cheap cold red wine.

We all read.

We did an awful lot of not a lot at all.

We all rather enjoyed it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm out of here

We're off to take life at a slower pace.

Sadly, just for a week.

This is about as busy as it gets.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Why bother?

So a few terror suspects get slapped about whilst British intelligence services are present.

Big fucking deal.

They're not trying to learn how to walk again with no legs, or trying to put their lives back together simply because they happened to be on a random London bus or tube carriage.

Do fuck off.


Monday, July 05, 2010

The wisdom of HMR &C part 2

So, I paid the fine, as by only allowing me twenty fours hours from receipt of notification, I had little choice.

Opened the post this morning, another HMR&C envelope, oh joy.

Enclosed was a cheque. A refund on the fine. For £3.18. If the Nick and Dave show want a few pointers on how to make departmental savings I'd be only too happy to assist.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The fuckwit spaniel

Is feeling very sorry for herself.

She was charging around a friend's garden (Nicki Nipples, so called due to her perfect, expensive fake breasts) with her spaniel chum Wilburt ( what you call a dog when you have expensive, fake breasts) when she ripped a claw out.

Blood everywhere, and a swift trip to the vets to remove the rest of it. Boy one was at NN's playing with her lad after school ,and she sent him back with an envelope with the claw, which she'd found, a dog treat, and one pound for the claw fairy !

Lead only walks for ten days, oh joy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Round the Island Race

Velsheda appearing at dawn
The fleet

What a fantastic weekend.

Headed off to Port Solent on Thursday to pick up our boat, a Jenneau 37. By the time we'd shopped, sorted out and sat down to eat surrounded by the other seventy Sunsail charters it was around ten. I knew six of the eight crew, as it was a 'village' boat, a tradition which goes back a while and we were racing against another crew from the village who had hired the same type of boat. Of the eight crew I knew six, and of the other two, one was very good company, and the other a bit of a cock.

Suitably hungover, the next day we sailed to Cowes and had a bit of a practice. Not much wind and bloody hot, shorts and tee shirt stuff. My chum who had organized the trip had pulled a blinder, and our berth was bang outside the Cowes Yacht Haven, with easy access to the showers and shitters. ( Taking a dump on an eight berth boat after a chilli the night before is not thought to be socially acceptable).

In the evening, some went to watch the footie on the big screen in the marina, whilst not being English or particularly enjoying football, I was happy to chew the fat and cook my mean Thai yellow (chilli, Thai curry, not nice to shit onboard, see our mistake?)

We then had to get up at half past fucking three in the morning to make our start time of 0520. The starts are staggered at ten minute intervals according to class, and I was not that fussed as we would be able to see the Maxiyachts going off first from our holding area. We were bumbling around, supping a last coffee before thinking about our start when the most beautiful sight appeared through the soft orange of the dawn. The J class Velsheda at full tilt. What a vision. Apologies for geekiness, but this alone made my weekend, and my piss poor photography doesn't do her justice.

In all we took around nine and a half hours to complete the race and finished a shameful fifth from bottom in our class, losing to the other village boat by fourteen minutes in the process. But what a sail, gusting up to twenty three knots, full wets on all day, but with glorious sunshine. Everywhere you looked were sails.

We berthed up and seriously beered, and then met our victorious chums in a very good prebooked ( imagine the crowds, Phil's organization was superb) Italian restaurant, followed by a great little pub, and then a bad trip down a bottle of gin back at the boat.

The trip back to Port Solent after a dodgy full English was a quiet one.

A cracking long weekend, and I'm signed up for next year.


Must get a post with pics up about the island race, had a wonderful time but bloody knackered after getting up at 0330 to get to the start line.

Taking another skive tomorrow, a mate has just offered me a corporate freebie to the one day international in Cardiff. Corporate tickets in sport are a bad thing...........................................

Until you get offered them!.

Note to self, stop doing fun stuff and get on with some work you bloody slacker.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bits and pieces

We went to a Help for Heroes event on Sunday and all had an excellent time.

There was an airshow with Tornadoes, a Sea King, a Spifire, brilliant.

The Army had loads of tanks and assorted vehicles which they were quite happy for us to clamber in and out of, and even showed the boys how to operate some of electronic gizmos.

The police had a great display of vehicles and put on a cracking fake armed robbery with the dog team and firearms officers.

It was a great day out, and hopefully raised a lot of money. Everyone gave their time for free with one glaring exception who charged the organisers for the use of the disused airfield where it was held.

The Ministry of Defence. Simply staggering.

As the oil leak rumbles on we see American politicians fight to be a the front of the queue to hammer BP. If, as it would appear, that BP are culpable, then they must be held to account and pay. The same politicians would be mindful to remember a company called Union Carbide and what happened, and continues to happen in Bhopal twenty six years after the event. I hope BP do not follow Union Carbide's example in dealing with coorporate disaster.

Right, I'm off to pack my bestest sailing gear in preparation to race around the Isle of Wight. Nearly 1800 entries, should be quite a spectacle. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the J class yacht 'Velsheda'' racing, which is quite possibly the most beautiful object ever designed and built by man.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The wisdom of HMR & C

Today I received a letter from HMR &C stating that my corporation tax return for, wait for it 2006, yes 2006, had been filed late and that there was a penalty 0f £204.26 to pay.

I was fairly sure that this was bollocks, as I am anal regarding my tax affairs, so I rang them to chew the fat.

Despite my protests, they insisted it was payable and guess how long they gave me to pay before taking legal action?

Twenty four hours.

After waiting four years to notify me, they want to be paid within twenty four hours of receiving notification. I can't even clarify it with my accountant in that timeframe.

There is no point in even attempting to convince the droid at the other end of the phone line that in the real world (the one outside of the civil fucking service) this would not be considered in any way reasonable.

Cocksucking fuckwombles the lot of them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The life and times of Boy 2

Those who have been following my turgid output over the last few years may recall the occasional mention of the behavior of Boy 2, sometimes written in a jocular fashion, sometimes not.

This may go on for some time, so give up now if you like, I'm sort of using it as a bit of a release.

Boy 2 has always been a bit different. His development as an infant was very quick. He crawled, walked, spoke and read at very early stages, and we always had to have eyes in the back of our head, as he was constantly on the go.

He went to a private nursery for one day a week, mainly to give A a breather, and to the village toddler group. From there he went to the village playgroup, and to prepare him for the structure of school, a Montessori school. The two years he had there were excellent, but the principal made us fully aware that we could have problems when he entered mainstream school, and prepared an extensive report for the school.

Without being consciously aware of what we were doing, we had coping strategies in place at home for his behavior. We never thought of them as such, just parents putting in controls to cope with a boy with extraordinarily high energy levels.

When he started school, he was a year ahead of the expected levels, now he is coming to the end of year two, he is now average or below.

It was at the end of the first year that the school first made us aware of their concerns. we had every confidence in the headteacher and have always from day one worked closely with the school. She is no longer there, and we are increasingly losing faith in the abilities of the new head.

He was being hugely disruptive in class, and had a problem in controlling his movement, and also rejected authority. He also had little concern for being disciplined in any way.

I can feel the 'he's a naughty little shit' thoughts coming here. 'Why don't you get your child to behave?' He has an elder brother who has been brought up within the same family environment. Boy 1 is a house captain and a school prefect, and is hugely respected by both the teaching staff and his peer group.

The only response seemed to be to remove him from the class. We understood why they had to do this. There was often no classroom assistant, and there was after all, a whole class of children to be taught, and the teacher's attention could not be solely taken by Boy2. He would often be sent to Boy1's class, who would be mortified by yet another appearance from his 'naughty' brother. We have asked time and time again for him not to be sent Boy1's class if he is removed, but two years on, they did it again on Monday.

At the end of the first year, we agreed for the school to ask for assistance from the behaviour support team (BST), and for him to be assessed by an educational psychologist. The head teacher is the school SEN coordinator, and despite sixteen years teaching experience, did not know what to do next.

The initial reports shocked us. They spoke of 'stress related behavioural patterns', a 'lack of self esteem', 'unable to regulate his feelings or emotions', 'difficulty in engaging'. I have to admit that as we read and re read them we both become very emotional, was this really what was going on inside our little boys head?

These sessions have been ongoing since last year, and there have been mixed results. The BST and ed psyc have put forward a number of strategies, some which have been implemented, some not, and indeed the validity of some questioned by the head teacher. He has developed a good relationship with one particular teacher from the BST who regularly observes him, and her reports make interesting reading, as she his built a relationship of trust with him.

Early in last term, one unpleasant incident ended up having the best results. We had a telephone call from the head, she had the chair of the governors with her. They were going to act on complaints they had received from seven parents regarding our son's behaviour in class. He would be removed from the classroom for most of the morning and taught on a one to one basis, He would be back in the classroom for the remainder of the day.

We were very unhappy with this course of action being taken without our consultation. Bear in mind for the past eighteen months I have effectively taken Friday afternoons off for the past eighteen months to have weekly review meetings with the head and his teacher. We had always been very supportive as we were all working to the same end, and thought we should have been consulted. The other unsavoury thought was that we would know these people, it's only a small village school. This whole episode has taken us through a whole gamut of emotions, and rightly or wrongly, anger was the one present at this time.

So, in consultation with BST, an individual timetable was prepared.More paperwork, by this stage he had already been within a CAF, and moved onto a PSP. It all worked like a dream. At this time we were fortunate to have a fully qualified teacher as a classroom assistant, and she took him for the one to one. He had frequent 'brain breaks' both inside and out, and had various 'fiddle objects'. He was also allowed to work standing up, which seems to agree with him. The improvement in his behaviour was amazing, and he was much happier at school.

At the same time we were on a waiting list to see a clinical psychologist, at the recommendation of the educational psychologist . The education department do not communicate with the health department in these circumstances, and the onus is on you as a parent to drive it forward.

So, the start of this term. The school has lost funding for the full time classroom assistant, and to our frustration (but much as we feared) he has regressed. His class had SATs two weeks ago. Could someone please explain to me why on earth we need to test seven year old children, as I really have no fucking clue. He had got himself into a bit of a state about the tests and was removed from the class on the first morning. So, a seven year old child, who in their words, not mine, has a problem with anxiety and self esteem is left on his own in a corridor to complete an examination.

I was livid. Why had they not requested support from the BST when they had always made it clear it was available? My wife offered to monitor him in school during the SATS, but luckily the BST came up trumps and he completed the week.

We finally saw a clinical psychologist this week. Fortunately we had taken all of the correspondence and reports from the past few years, as no one had had the foresight to send them to her. She could offer us little advice on coping at home as she told us that we had already implemented the coping strategies for the home that they would suggest. We just thought it was a common sense approach to dealing with a very energetic child, structure. Basically, what is going to happen is that the education professionals and health professionals are going to start to speak to other, and we are going to see some progress with knowing more about what goes on in his mind and how best to help him.

Which is a relief. All too frequently we have seen our loving, tactile and generous little boy reduced to a bundle of frustrated misery.

He is a wonderful athlete, with fantastic hand/eye/ball coordination, but has been excluded from after school rugby, football and tennis clubs, despite excelling in the out of school clubs he attends.

It's been very hard for us to watch him go through this, and of course there have been frequent occasions when we have questioned ourselves.

I love him more than words can describe, and I'm also very proud of him.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ranty stuff

Boy oh boy oh boy.

Arseholes who use spray deodorant in the tiny squash club changing rooms.

There is no such thing as 'The Lynx factor', get some roll on.

When I come into the changing rooms gagging for oxygen, and then I get a deep bite of cfc in the lungs and the nose I simply want to kill you.

Talk talk, it's been said before, but once again, you are so cunty.

Triton showers. Don't sell products that don't work, and then quote a nine day response time to a guarantee issue.

But most of all, my wife's cousin's husband. A bit of a long trail, I know, but you cunt. You are a fat sweaty twat, and your wife is wonderful, as are your kids.

But still, you've fucked some young little slapper from your office.

Sometimes, I lose my faith in human nature.

I am really angry about this, and quite frankly, I just want to twat him, which is not my general outlook.

Seriously, this guy is fat, sweaty and has a face like a pushed in bag of shit.

His wife is not only a little cutie, but is also a wonderful person.

Apparently, it was an internet thing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bits of blurb

I must get around to putting up the Cornwall pictures, we all had a wonderful time.

I'm going to indulge in some shameless proud Dad stuff. The boys had their annual rugby presentation award dinner the other week. It's a great night, there's over two hundred kids from the under 7's to the under 17's all spruced up in their club ties, and we always have a couple of top players to present the awards, this year Nicky Robinson, Gloucester and Wales and Adam Eustace,Gloucester.

Both boys won 'Most promising player' in their respective age categories, and had their picture taken with Nicky and Adam. Proud doesn't even come close to describing how I felt.

Not quite sure what I make of the Dave and Nick double act, but I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt, and hope that they can make a go of it. I'm not keen on Osbourne's appointment as Chancellor, oily little tick. Liam Fox at defence doesn't inspire confidence. Apparently he once porked Natalie Imbruglia, so not is he only a twat, but a particularly jammy twat. If I'd known her standards were so low, I would have had a go myself!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sanity break

We're off again, this time to Cornwall, to the little town that was always my family's home base, despite all of our travelling.

My Mum sold the house about eight years ago, and this will be our first trip since. I'm very much looking forward to going back there with my boys. C can't remember it, and J's never been. We've got a little two up two down cottage in the town centre. Plenty of walking, plenty of rock pooling, and plenty of crabbing.

The boys' school is closed on Friday due to a teacher training day, so we'll clear off early in the morning.

I'm glad to be buggering off again. Work is difficult. I'm involved in a legal dispute with a contractor over unpaid fees, a lot of unpaid fees, and I'm finding it hard to focus on anything else.

A bit of sea air will help clear the mind.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Profile changes

Necessary as I am no longer 41.

42 today.

Oh well, at least it's a beautiful day.

My Mum's coming up tonight for a few days, and we'll all have dinner together, which I shall be cooking. I trust an Italian fish stew to no-one but me.

It will be great to see Mum, although she doesn't live far away, a lot of her time recently has been taken up looking after my Grandfather, who is now very elderly, and has had a spell of bad health.
She's going to look after the hooligans tomorrow night, and we're going out to dinner with a few friends.

It's very quiet at Gumpher Towers as boy 1 is at an outward bound centre with school for a few days. As we were packing his stuff the other night, he told me not to worry about shampoo and shower gel, as he didn't bother showering when they went last year. Stinky little sod.

So the plan for the day is to fire through a bit of work and get home. It's too bloody nice to be stuck inside an office, birthday or not

Monday, April 19, 2010


I have been tagged by DJ Aspey to complete the following, and I think it is a tad tricky, to tell six truths and one lie about yourself.

I'll give it a whirl.

1. I have travelled to thirty one countries,and have lived on three different continents. Only eight of these countries are in Europe.

2. At the age of sixteen, I was the Welsh trampolining champion, and came third in the national championships.

3. I can kick a ball with both feet. When playing cricket, I bat right handed and bowl left handed. I can play racquet sports with both hands, but if you ask me to throw a ball right handed, I will throw like a girl. I write left handed, and cannot even grasp a pen in my right hand.

4. I have a 2:1 in Economics and Political Studies.

5. I learned to windsurf at an early age. It's like riding a bike. Whenever we go on holiday and I hire one, my boys are amazed that Dad can actually do that.

6. My second toe is longer than my big toe, on both feet. It looks very odd in flip flops.

7. My father died when I was fourteen months old.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Just for Nutters, the fan of the naughty spewy spaniel

Sodding dog

My wife is out with the boys as it's the last day of the school jollydays, so the mutt below is in the office with me.

I'm having a mellow day, struggling through the boredom of doing some accounting with a bit of Mozart on in the background ( I can be civilised, it's not all rugby and beer).

I popped out for a crafty fag, and came back to three piles of dog sick - on my light grey carpets.

One swift trip to Tesco for some cleaning products and ten minutes of halting the gag reflex and my work is done.

Fluffy shit for brains is curled up fast asleep on her bed, oblivious to my suffering.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Beer on the beach


Waiting for crabs


Braving the surf


Spaniel heaven

Easter hols

We've just had two cracking weekends in different parts of Wales.

The first was with friends who have a smallholding halfway up a mountain just outside of Builth. We had the full Easter experience complete with new bunnies and chicks (which they breed) and bottle feeding their two pet lambs which are going to be used as lawnmowers in their woodland.

It's always a real novelty going for a weekend, helping with all of the animals and the oddjobs which this time were reinforcing one of the road bridges over the stream, and lugging a hen house from the woods down to the yard. I can't imagine doing all of that every day, I'm sure the novelty would wear off.

The weekend just gone, I took Friday and yesterday off and we went to stay in the Pembrokeshire coastal national park with friends and their two boys who are the same age as our two hooligans. I love Pembroke, it's like Cornwall, but without the crowds of braying hoorays. We lucked in with the weather, and spent Saturday on Whitesands bay. The kids all togged up in their wetsuits, surfing and rock-pooling, it was a wonderful day. The naughty spaniel also experienced the delights of a big beach and the sea for the first time and had a rollicking doggy time.

On Sunday, we had a big hike around Dinas Head, and then headed off for lunch at a pub called The Sloop in a little cove at Porthgain. After meandering back, we went crabbing and had a barbie at the little beach at the foot of the valley where we were staying. A perfect day for A's 39th birthday.

Sometimes, the simple things in life are the best. Good company, plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and the boys charging about in the open air. Happy days.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Morons on the road

I had a fun experience today. It also blew a few urban myths away. When you think that you might die, your life does not flash before your eyes, nor do you shit yourself.

I was on a straight two lane road in my van, pootling along at fifty when the two cars ahead of me hit the brakes, as the car in front of them had just indicated for a right turning about thirty feet in front of them. I also hit the brakes and the van slammed sideways across the road and just carried on at that angle for about sixty feet ( I checked the skid marks) . Going sideways at fifty ish in a high top three and a half ton long wheelbased van is not an experience I want to repeat in a hurry especially as I was convinced it was going to flip over.

Eventually, I hit the rather high kerb, the van jumped into the air and rather luckily buried itself into the soft verge, rather than carrying on into the ditch. So, there I was, at forty five degrees with the van across the lane, unable to reverse out as I was buried so deep, with traffic whizzing past. Thankfully, another van stopped, he had a tow rope, and dragged me out.

It fair rattled me.

Later, I saw Rick Wakeman in a petrol station on the A14. He drives a Porsche, looks rather vague and is freakishly tall.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


We are now officially lurgified at Gumpher towers. A is still on antibiotics, and C has a gland problem which has knocked him for six. He's a pretty solid chap on usual form, but he's zonked out. Pale, not eating, and in a fair bit of discomfort.

He fell asleep as I was reading to him last night, and I didn't want to disturb him, so he and I shared our bed last night, with A in his. Not sure it was a good choice on my part, he was very restless all night, up and down for water and medicine.

On Sunday, he spewed his on body weight- inside my car. I spent an hour cleaning it, and had another go this morning, but the stench is unbearable. We're away for the bank holiday, and I'm going to have to get it valeted beforehand, otherwise we'll be driving everywhere with the windows open.

I am really not in the mood for work today, hence the blogging. Generally I enjoy what I do, but like everyone I suppose, you have periods of lacking motivation and interest. Today is one of those days, it's going to be an effort.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The written word

I read a lot, always have. As well as my enjoyment of the content of a book, I like books themselves, and I am always a tad suspicious when I go into a house and there's not a book in sight.

I read a great deal from an early age. We didn't have a television, not because my parents couldn't afford it, they simply believed that there were better ways to occupy your time. I think we first got a small portable when I was seventeen, and that was only because it was won in a raffle.

I've always thought that so much more can be gained from a book than any other form of stimulation. Sometimes, if I subsequently see a television adaptation or a film of something I have previously read I find myself disappointed with the representation of character, as it inevitably differs from the picture that I have drawn for myself from the book.

I don't have any one particular genre that I'm drawn to, my taste is much like my taste in music, very eclectic.

My boys struggle to understand how 'simple' my childhood was without hundreds of television channels, the internet and the Wii, but fortunately, they both have my passion for books. C is like me, he reads a huge range of subjects, and reads very quickly. Although they both read to themselves, I still read to them most evenings before bedtime. C is ten, and our reading over the past couple of years has changed. Rather than individual stories, we have chosen together various books which take us weeks to complete together. Or months, in the case of The Chronicles of Narnia. Tom Sawyer provoked the most discussion, simply because of the language, and because he picked up on the differences between being white and black during the period it depicts. I doubt we would have had that discussion had we not been reading that particular book together. We're reading The Hobbit at the moment, and I'd forgotten how much I'd enjoyed it.

Reading with J is still very much short booked based as he's seven. His current favorites are Greek myths, although I fear we will soon have exhausted the library's supply.

We go to our local library most weeks. Although we've got one wall which is entirely bookshelves, and I occasionally dip into an old favorite, most of my new reads come from the library, although I do have the odd foray into second hand shops. J loves the library. Because he goes through phases of what he wants to read, he sees it as a challenge to search out something the same that he hasn't already had. I think he's resigned himself to the fact that he'll never stumble across an unread Dr.Seuss, he still looks for their distinctive spines.

Our local library in a small town is very quiet. We went to the large library in Worcester a few weeks ago and it was fucking bedlam. They'd introduced these new scanning devices in place of actual librarians, and the poor librarians left were constantly helping at the scanners as the damn things didn't actually do what they were designed for, and that was to scan books.

I don't think I would be so deep as to say that there are books that have changed my life, but all books have hugely enriched it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A relaxing weekend...............................

A has the most shocking ear infection. She managed to get to the quacks this morning and has a course of antibiotics, but the effects won't kick in for twenty four hours. She was sobbing through the night, I really didn't know what to do, other than to give her a hug.

I'm going to clear off early and pick up the kids from school and take them up to the park, out of her way. We'll get some free entertainment later courtesy of a rather wealthy chap who lives just up the road. He invites clients to the Cheltenham festival and hires two helicopters to ferry them back and forth. They land in his back garden and the kids love sitting on the gate watching them come in and out.

If A's still grotty, I'll forgo my Friday night hour in the pub. I think I'll stay off the pop altogether, as C has moved up a swimming class and his lessons have moved from Wednesday afternoons to 8am on a Saturday morning. Fucking great, ten weeks to look forward to. Then J has football at nine, and on Sunday they both have rugby matches away at different clubs. J is playing in a tournament in Droitwich, and C is at Stow. Oh, and C has more swimming on Saturday evening, courtesy of the Church youth group.

And I've got to collect two of their noisy mates from school as their Mum is working late.

I don't get bloody paid for this..............

Friday, March 12, 2010

Talk Talk

What a bunch of chimps.

I'm not asking to be flown to the moon. I would like a telephone line and broadband. I have a direct debit in place, all they have to do is email my invoice, and take the money.

I have the most simple e mail address on the planet, but for some unknown reason, every other month, some fucktard from TalkTalk decides to add a '1' to it, and unsurprisingly, it doesn't get through.

Then they write to me to say I'm being charged for a paper bill as I don't have a valid e mail address, despite them using the correct address the previous month.

The online account has never worked. It either won't recognise the log in or password, and won't allow them to be reset.

So. The phone call. I'd rather rub my nuts on a cheesegrater than ring the TalkTalk call centre. I have nothing against Indians, nor indeed any nationality ( apart from the odd Irishman at six nations time) but if you're going to use foreign call centres, at least use staff who have a basic grasp of the language of the country they are servicing..

Twenty seven minutes and three separate staff in order to ensure that a '1' is not added to an email address, and each time they pass me onto a colleague, that mong wants me to repeat my name,address, date of birth, phone number and account number.

It's not good for my ever greying thatch.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Feel the burn

I am in pain, deep pain.

I've been back playing squash for two weeks now, and I had planned to ease myself gently back into it, but the childishly competitive nature of me and my playing partners has not exactly made that possible.

Last night was daft. I was two one down and came back to two all. Somehow I managed to get 7-4 up in the deciding fifth when the lights went out. It was bugger all down to the way I was playing. My opponent was missing easy shots, and giving me clear winners, but I was totally fucked. I could hardly move, I was sweating like a sumo in a sauna, and although deep down I wanted to win, my immediate thoughts were that I couldn't give two shits about the score, I just wanted to get off that court.

Needless to say, the extra quid went in, the lights came on and I lost 10-8. Unusually, I really didn't care, everything hurt so much. It's a long time since I pushed myself so hard, and although I lost, and it hurts, it's also quite satisfying.

The squash ball size mark on my left arse cheek and the racquet weal on my shoulder are less satisfying.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Yo ho ho

I haven't been sailing for years.

Growing up next to sea I spent my youth cocking about in boats, and great fun it was too. Dinghy sailing with dad until we both came to the conclusion that father and son in a small boat is like the same mixture with driving lessons. I then started crewing on offshore yachts for a bit. I'd always windsurfed, and fortunately that is like riding a bike, so I always hire one if they're around when we're on holiday.

As we live slap bang in the middle, there's not much opportunity to sail. Having said that we live on the Avon, and there is a sailing club nearby, but tacking every twenty seconds is not my idea of fun.

Anyway, I had an email earlier reminding me that my deposit for the 'Round the Island Race' was due. It wasn't spam, as it was from a chum in the village, but I didn't have a clue what it was about. To cut a long story short, I was collared whilst under the influence at a party a few weeks ago, the boat has been chartered, and along with a motley crew of assorted village pissheads will be racing around the Isle of Wight in the summer !

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

As expected, Cardiff was great fun, despite the rugby.

Also as expected, we got roaringly drunk and ended up in a curry house. Nothing if not predictable. Cardiff was chock full of very happy Frenchies, and the more I drank, the better my French became. Ahem.

Great walk along the Wye valley on the way back, although it was a round of soft drinks in our target pub, and none of us could face lunch. Turn forty and turn lightweight.

Bokke, (see previous rugby trips) had a quick look at the OS map of some proper walkers, and decided we would take a different route back to the car. Needless to say we got horrendously lost and the one hour trip turned into two and a half. It also involved a jaunt through a farmyard which was ankle deep in liquid cowshit. I'm glad we weren't in my car.

Two games of squash coming up this week. It's rather satisfying to be back doing some exercise, although it's going to take a while to get a reasonable level of fitness back.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rugby and beer

Lifes little pleasures.

Drive to Newport tomorrow, ditch the car at the 5* B &B and get the train to Cardiff. I love it when the French come to Cardiff, a wonderful atmosphere, although you don't get cockerels being released in the city centre these days.

We're probably going to get a thorough spanking, but it should be a cracking evening. A few beers before, try and grab a curry afterwards and hopefully get the late train back to Newport . Sophisticated it won't be.

Planning to blow away the cobwebs the following morning with a stroll along the Wye Valley stopping for lunch at a pub that has seventeen, yep seventeen, different ciders.

Sleep it all off on Saturday, and then the boys have an away match in Solihull on Sunday.

So, the weekend revolves around...........Rugby, damn shame !

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I was sick of snow a long time ago. The first few days of sledging last month were fun, although I was relegated to the role of spectator. It all looked very pretty, but now it's just dull and turgid.

The boys have had one rugby match and one training session this year, due to the pitches either being covered, or waterlogged after the thaw. It's got to the stage when even they want to yomp across the hill with the dog after lunch on a Sunday.

We had a quick whizz to the smoke at half term. Science Museum and the V & A . We went to the Science Museum to complete the bit we didn't have time for on our last London trip, and sod's law, the entire wing was closed until June. I was surprised at how much the hooligans enjoyed the V & A, it's a stunning building. We also treated ourselves to sandwiches and yummy snacky bits from Harold's as J insisted on calling Harrods

A few more days until Wales v France and a party of four for a boys weekend out. First one in ages, I'm getting pisspoor at being on the ball with this. In the past couple of months A has had girlie weekends in Spain and Centreparcs. I've got the luxury of some dodgy B & B in Newport.