Friday, December 21, 2012

American gun laws

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,"

" In Washington, the National Rifle Association called for "good guys" to be armed for "absolute protection"

It all seems much simpler, and much safer, up here in the Shire.

And with far less dead children.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Spit the dummy

I played badly.

I got a bit stroppy

I broke a rather expensive squash racquet.

I'm 44.

I feel a bit daft.

If you can learn to lose with grace, it will make you win with grace.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


As an adult, we become used to change. As a child it can sometimes be quite a big thing.

Charlie is not far off becoming a teenager and has been at the same rugby club, with the same mates since he was six. They had some good times over the years, but the numbers have dwindled, and at towards the end of last season a few matches were cancelled due to lack of numbers. We talked, and both agreed to see how the start of this season went. A few players left over the summer, a few didn't bother with pre season, but turned up for the first match. That's okay, people have different priorities. Josh likes rugby, but it comes a lowly third on his list of priorities behind gymnastics and athletics. Charlie loves the game, given the choice he'd play every day, as it is it's Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. He needed to be at a club where week in, week out, rugby was guaranteed.

So, the decision was made, his club informed, and goodbyes made. He's joined a club with forty three registered players in his age group that put out two teams every week. He'd been to two training sessions prior to the first fixture, and I wasn't really expecting him to get a game, but they selected him to start at hooker for the seconds, and was presented with his match shirt, embroidered with his initials before the game.

As the current vernacular would put it, he smashed it (and that unfortunate lad in front of him) and will be given a chance in the first team squad next week. From walking onto a training pitch last week, knowing no one, to performing like this shows huge drive and commitment. I'm very proud of him. Most of the kids, and all of the coaches came and shook his hand and congratulated him after the game. It's got a nice feel to it, the right choice has been made.

A change for the good.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Getting old

With one exception, all of my Grandparents have lived to a ripe old age, and I've been close to all of them.

It's unusual given that I'm in my forties that I still have grandparents, although we lost my much loved Grandad a few months ago.

My remaining Grandmother has Alzheimers, and I try to visit her as often as I can, but sometimes it's not a pleasant experience. Last week she was fine, although very tired and forgetful, our conversation kept repeating itself. The week before was heartbreaking. She was very upset, and in constant distress. She still knows what is happening to her, she isn't in the full grip of the disease, although it's changing her very quickly. She had an almost pleading tone to her sobs as blurted out "I just want to die, I don't want this," over and over again.

She's terrified of going into a home. As yet, it's not going to happen. On that side of the family, it's just my Aunt and I, no one else, and caring for her is becoming ever more difficult for my Aunt. She herself is in her sixties, and still working part time.

There's a photo of my grandad on the mantle. She's left the frame there, but stuck a piece of card over his face as "He's upped and buggered off with another woman." He's been dead twenty five years.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The corner, turned?

Just before the schools broke up last term, we took a very big step where Joshie was concerned.

For years we had persisted with therapy, rather than medication, against all medical advice. I can't go into all of our reasons for not wanting to give him drugs, I'd be here for a very long time, and I'm not sure even then I could fully express our reasons. After a long, soul searching and emotional appointment with his psychiatrist, we agreed to try.

The results were pretty instant, and rather surprising. It has made me feel very guilty about not doing it before, but Amanda and I have spoken at length and she has made me feel more comfortable about our decisions over the past few years.

Therapy has worked wonders with his anxieties and fears, but never really helped with his miserable time at school which was caused by his hyperactivity and inattentiveness.

We didn't tell the school what we were doing, we waited for them to come to us, which they did. There was dramatic change. We don't see it that much, the medication works quickly when he takes it after breakfast, and wears off in the late afternoon, and we don't always give it to him at the weekends. Suffice to say, he has gone from being excluded and being sent to a 'special' school for a period of time, to being the first school prefect to be announced, with responsibility for the new reception class, and bring given the first Head Teacher's award of the new year. And, he's happy to be there. It's a massive transformation from only a year or so ago. He's definitely quieter when taking it. It's not changed his character, but it has subdued parts of it.He's always been a very, very deep thinker, but now I feel he has a reflective and melancholy air. Perhaps I am being over analytical.

It means he will go through this final year with no major worries about the transition to big school, and that he can start to fulfill his potential, as he is properly back in mainstream education. There are side effects, and side issues. He doesn't like taking them, and at first refused, despite a very frank discussion with his doctor, who he trusts. "I'm not mental, I don't want these, and no one can make me take them." He was convinced by being told that it would help him to make better decisions, which is essentially what it does. He now suffers from headaches, and also has a vastly reduced appetite. We knew these may happen, and he is measured and weighed frequently. He has grown in height but lost weight. It's difficult to get weight onto him, he does a lot of sport. Luckily, he is still hungry at breakfast, and usually has cereal, yoghurt, eggs, toast, and fruit. His lunchbox comes back barely touched, and evening meals can be hit and miss. There's no point getting cross and being pushy, it's not his fault. We get as many calories into him when we can.

It's going to make a massive difference to his life, but most importantly it's made him happier. Hindsight is hard, and regrets are sometimes fatuous, but it's hard to have neither when it's your child.

He's come a bloody long way on a very bumpy road.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Summer festival japes

Having been to The Green Man for the past few years, we decided on a change of scenery for our summer festival trip. After a bit of research we decided on Nozstock on a farm near Bromyard.

It was a fab choice, a weekend of genuine British eccentricity, helped in no small way by the organisers extremely liberal attitude to the use of soft drugs.I've never smoked spliff, it doesn't agree with me, but I've never seen so many fat biftas in all my years. There appeared to be an ongoing competition to outdo the Camberwell Carrot.

It was themed as 'Myths and Legends' and rather than a music festival, it's set up as a festival of performing arts, so there was lots of quite frankly, weird, but enjoyable shit, going on. Apart from the young couple who wandered around the site and then would strip naked, sing a song, get dressed and amble off to scare other folk. That's not art, it's streaking. They couldn't sing either, and I'm reliably informed by my wife that he had a small penis. It's generally not a good thing to use your wanger as a bit of performing art if it's a tiddler. People will point and snigger.

I found the human octopus a bit freaky. They had their own show in the theatre (the tent behind, it was called the 'Bantam of the Opera', vair droll) I didn't go. I did go and see a bit of a show called Artwank. It was a history of early pornography with some seriously wrong black and white footage presented by a rather foxy lady called Ophelia Bits. She was very funny, but I felt a bit odd sitting in a tent watching spank films with strangers, so I left to get more cider. My chums Kate and Al stayed, they were positively lapping up the filth.
The comedy tent was a bit hit and miss, but an act called the Rubberbandits were bloody good. Don't take kids though.

Ophelia Bits obviously had a hand in naming the bar.

It really was a cracking weekend. Charlie thoroughly enjoyed it. There were only 4000 people there, so he and his chum Alf ambled around together, tracking us down when they wanted food and water. It was odd not to have Josh there, he would have loved it. He was have a fab time being spoiled rotten by his Grandma. They went to watch the men's gymnastics at the Olympics!

A couple of bands, I really enjoyed.  Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers were perfect for a sunny afternoon with a few ciders. Jonny Kowalski and the Sexy Weirdos were proper ace, as were the Electric Swing Circus. You can see acts who probably will never make the big time, but are incredibly clever and talented and love what they do.

We danced, we sang, we drank cider and lazed about in the sun. I got my mojo back for the weekend.

Friday, July 20, 2012

His brother, however................

Finds the Maori side step to be a more effective approach.

Loves a bit of bosh.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

There's no substitute for raw gas

The boy has it in spades. Fair goes like greased weasel shit. This, it must be said, was not a fair contest.

Having said that, it's proof that he's listening. 'Joshie, if there's a big boy in front of you, back yourself, and take him on'

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I worry about the tedium of life

I adore my wife, and I love my children. I just find it hard to be with them. Or do I. I might find it hard to be me, with them.

I've become too complex. I think too much. I don't laugh enough. I've stopped engaging. I'm no fun.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

They shoot horses, don't they?

If I was dragged to the vet at the moment, there would be plenty of sympathetic clucking and soothing words.

This middle aged malarkey is all bollocks, I'm starting to fall apart. From the top, the thatch is receding, I grant you, but no bald spots yet, and if I was selling it, I'd describe the side bits as 'elegantly flecked with grey.' Since I packed in the evil weed a month and a half/six weeks ago (I've yet to decide which sounds better) my skin has such a glowing lustre, I'm half expecting a phone call from L'Oreal. That's about the limit of the good news.

The downside to no longer being a slave to fags, is unfortunately the stereotypical one, and I appear to have been ironing my shirts on a wok. I'm playing squash twice a week, and doing two kids rugby sessions every week, but obviously I need to do more. Running is out of the question. Firstly, I find doing any sport that doesn't involve a ball a bit boring, and running buggers my knees. We all did the sport relief mile at the weekend, and whilst some Sudanese peasant now has a new goat thanks to my efforts, my left knee is shot to bits. After a mile. Last night I was hobbling around the squash court like some old biddy adjusting her incontinence pants.

The other thing that keeps breaking is my groin. Not the fun bit, that's fine judging by the amount of times my wife requests that I 'stop poking that sodding thing in my back you twat' most mornings. Romance is alive and well at Gumph towers. No it's the sodding muscle, which despite my warm up ritual, keeps pulling when I play squash. Sore and very annoying.

I'll be at rugby tonight with a knackered left knee, and a gimpy right groin, a perfectly balanced middle aged cripple.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Joker

I adore this picture, taken last week.

 Behind the make up, I can see him, perfectly.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Caught by the fuzz

Very impressed with the police response to the arsehole driver of a few days ago.

A local officer came to the house that evening, discussed how best to proceed, and we both agreed a bollocking would be in order, and see the response.

He rang later. The woman was shocked to have the police knocking on the door. Good.

Amanda recognised the car, and I saw it when I was walking the fuckwit. She lives around the corner. Unbelievable.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


This is me and my gorgeous little sis.

She's been staying with us for the past few days, and she left this morning.

To live in Singapore.

I had to leave the house very swiftly after hugging and kissing her goodbye, I didn't want the boys to see me crying.

I'm going to miss her, and I worry at how much Mum is going to miss her. The boys will.

She's starting a new life with a new man, who happens to live there, and not here. You only get a few chances of happiness in life, this guy seems a thoroughly decent and kind man who obviously adores her.

I hope she stays happy. She deserves it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The driver of the Saab 93 soft top

Registration number V057 SMX

Yes, you.

My goodness, you must be very important, because there was somewhere you really had to be as you drove through the village I live in at 8.50 this morning.

In fact, it was so important that you had to overtake me on a quiet residential road, and then overtake someone else, a bit further up, where the road narrows, forcing the other car to the left.

You were still in a very important hurry as you left the village, but as you couldn't get past the van in front of you as the roads are so narrow,so you chose to sit about three feet from the back of it's bumper instead, just to let them know how important you are, and how much of a hurry you were in.

This slowed you up, and allowed me to get this picture, and to get your number plate, and to report you to the police for dangerous and aggressive driving. It's not something I've done before, but my 9 year old son was walking to school along that road this morning, along with other children.

I'm guessing you're not that important, in fact I'd be closer to the money if I said you were a cunt of monumental proportions.

I don't know if plod will follow up my complaint. They took all the details and I hope they do. If they want a statement, they'll get one. 

Try getting up earlier.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Filthy fags

I have not smoked a cigarette since the half time break in the Wales v Scotland match.

Believe me, it is a very big deal.