Saturday, April 29, 2006

Reverting to type

Many apologies for this but at the end of the day (see, have to use the correct clichés) I am male, it is Saturday and I can't think of anything else to write about. At least I've got the apologies out early doors. Sport then.

Congratulations to Chelsea. I have a portion of humble pie on order along with a side-order of hubris. They played well although I feel slightly vindicated in my assessment of Mourinho as a mere glory hunter: why on earth throw your championship winners medal into the crowd? When he "survives" the board's statement of its every confidence in him in a couple of years time he may well rue the day he did that; he'll probably have a terrible gambling problem and will need to pledge something because he's got a cert in the 3.50 at Kempton. Foresight, Jose. And get that catarrh sorted, you look like my old newsagent, Mr Patel in that scarf. There, that should sort that other problem - who on earth would want to have that whispering in your ear (that's an in joke - if you're new, go back and find out).

Mixed feelings of course and it was comforting to see the Chelsea celebrations tempered somewhat by the realisation England had just lost the World Cup in the same game. Rooney's chances of making the tournament would now seem only slightly better than mine and as young Michael also looks a bit dodgy I can only thank whatever that it is now summer and we're playing proper games

Very pleased to see that the Mighty Super Kent (as they shall henceforth be known) dismissed Middlesex today in a very matter of fact way. I do hope they've not peaked early as we are getting desperate. For the unitiated, Kent are a proper cricket club. In Robert Key and Matt Walker they are carrying on their fine tradition of supplying very fine but also very lardy batsmen. It is an encouragement to every man who has to pee by feel alone that there are top flight sportsmen in the very same predicament. Sod your macrobiotics, eat spuds.

Very many thanks to all those who have offered condolenc congratulations in the light of the announcement I made the other day. It has come as a great surprise that people are still interested in this sort of thing amongst people of our advanced years. I can guarantee you that there will be no question whatsoever of the patter of tiny feet being heard in this house unless the rat escapes. We are past all that now and children aren't allowed in this house unless they can cook.

Tomorrow we are going all the way to Wales to gawp at the scenery and stay two nights in that hotel I recommended last month. That means I won't be around. As if you cared.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Loved up

I have been inactive for over a week now. This is down to a combination of block; wasting energy on fearsomely long comments that would have been better served as subjects for this end of the operation; work-type stuff and a certain amount of self-preservation. This will change for there is a new air of confidence about chez nous.

Today we went to Nantwich to audition an accountant. That is of no consequence other than Sharon got caught short as we parked the car and the public toilets in the car park weren't responding to coin of the realm, remaining steadfastly locked. The helpful parking attendant suggested the Civic Hall across the car park would be open because there was an antiques fair on and there would be relief available inside. We made it in time and as we had almost an hour to spend before our appointment we browsed. Sharon and antiques is a dangerous combination at the best of times, especially when there is blue and white china and goodness knows what else about. I don't know quite how the next bit happened but there is always a certain amount of second-hand tom about at these places and we just happened to be staring at some. In short, the freshly filled wallet was quickly emptied and a piece of shiny stuff now sits around the third finger of Sharon's left hand. Yes, it's taken a few years but she is now my betrothed. Vicus, I'm doing the right thing at last.

My only regret is that I didn't use the full facilities available to me in the Civic Hall in order to perform the ceremony, namely one of South Cheshire's largest stages and a hall full of bored stallholders. Hindsight, eh? Would have been useless without a camera, as well.

I may not have pockets full of diamonds but today I feel I have riches beyond compare.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tidying Up

Ok, maybe I was a bit previous. Barring Chelsea's squad suddenly all contracting ebola virus and Man U winning their 3 final games 6-0 each, I was wrong. So, congrats to Chelsea for cheating another championship. Ooh. Did I say cheat?

Just what was Robben doing? I turned on Match of the Day during the game to immediately see him cartwheeling across the box clutching his shins as if he'd been taken out by a sniper's bullet. The replay showed nothing near his shins at all so isn't it about time the referee can call for a video replay to judge whether a player is going for a six-pointer or not? Also when a player goes down like that he's obviously in such agony that he ought to be removed from the field of play for 5 minutes to seek treatment. I know they unsuccessfully tried it a few years back that whenever a player went down complaining of an injury he had to be stretchered off, so maybe a compulsory scan would be in order now with the cost deducted from his agent's fees. And yes, I'm well aware that United too have a Dutchman who can go down flailing like the best of them but Alex has him on a tight leash at the moment whereas Mourinho seems to positively encourage er...cheating. And what was with him appearing late in the second half? Walk into one of Drogba's farts in the tunnel and had to be resuscitated?

Also, how come my other half, who professes to know nothing of our inferior national sport whatsoever, was able to tell me the other day exactly who Jose Mourinho was? This is so very wrong. There's something going on, I'm sure.


This has to be one of the best search results so far. I beat off 33,900 others on to win "soft furnishings chinese scatter cushions poetry" with this. I can get most of it...but poetry? Why? Answers carved on to grains of rice and sent to Jose Mourinho, please.


Meme. Never done one, don't even know how to pronounce it but I found one today c/o Dawn that is nice and easy. All it involves is searching your birthdate in Wikipedia (just the date, not the year) and writing down three interesting facts, two births and one death from that date. Dead simple and totally unthreatening.

Mine are:

1853 - A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an Iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London. Those would be the ones in Crystal Palace Park
, then.

1879 - Pirates of Penzance first performed. In Paignton.

1922 - Union of Soviet Socialist Republics formed

1975 - Tiger Woods
. Plays golf. Slippy of tongue though.
1928 - Bo Diddley
. The Originator and top cool bloke.

1970 - Sonny Liston
. Bish bash bosh. Stung twice by The Greatest. Felled by drugs/and or bad men aged 38.

What the search did reveal was that something I'd believed for the last 15 years or so, that I shared an exact birthday with Aussie beer legend David Boon
was wrong. He is actually a day older than me. So that would explain everything.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


We went out yesterday evening to the Shroppie Fly in Audlem to see Jim K play an acoustic set alongside Nigel Stonier. It was very good and I have tried to reassure Jim that although I have seen him now three times wihin the last two weeks, I am not stalking him. Unfortunately I drank beer again and as a consequence I now have eels swimming in my head; very large eels playing catch with anvils and as eels don't have hands and are very slippy, they keep dropping the anvils.

It has taken me the best part of 30 years of exhaustive research to come to the conclusion that while I very much like beer, beer does not like me at all with often tiny amounts giving me headaches of quite ferocious intensity. It is different now; at one stage in the early 80s two pints would be enough to have me heaving over the sink although this may have had something to do with our local at the time only serving Whitbread Trophy ("The pint that thinks it's a quart").

I want to go back to bed.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Don't ask me

In my brief blogging career I have encountered several references to things that the average person, blogger and Joe public alike seems to assume, all too foolishly, everyone else takes for granted. They are things about which I know very little or have never experienced. Now, I’m not sure whether that makes me above or below average or indicates a sheltered upbringing or indeed, an insufficient education. I feel none of these reasons to be adequate.

I have never run with the pack. If I share opinions it’s because I’ve arrived at them of my own volition and reasoning, not because others have them. Clubs make me feel uneasy, even the ones that I belong to. I’m not a fanatic although I have been and still am a fan of things, people and stuff. Bring forward the five sacred cows for slaughter, just like that bit in Apocalypse Now that made you turn to your girlfriend and say it was a special effect. Definitely.

I’m 45 yet I have never owned a single track by the Fab Four. My Mum and Dad had “Twist and Shout” on a 45 but it was never played until they finally purchased a working gramophone in 1971. My Grandma had “With the Beatles” though. She liked them. I appreciate their immense influence on popular music but had I been 15 in 1963 I think I may well have been listening to some of the Lomax recordings instead. Their influence was even greater. As for their solo careers, George’s and Ringo’s were the most interesting. Lennon’s career seemed to be a triumph of marketing over mediocrity and that dreadful dirge “Imagine” is the most awful piece of fourth form poetry one could ever hope to read. Thank heavens they have never allowed their stuff to be included on compilations and that Ray Davies was born.

I have never seen a single full length screening of any of the Star Wars motion pictures on any medium. Realise I this gap in my education is. You see, I can do the jokes and I more or less know the characters because I’ve been unable to bloody escape them for 30 sodding years, despite my best efforts. My supervisor in the Civil Service a few years back was 12 years my junior but dressed up as Obi Wan Kenobi and waved a fluorescent tube about at weekends. Why? I always meant to go and see the first one and I will admit to seeing 10 minute bits of it here and there, but my patience was severely taxed when I realised I was going to have to sit through 5 or 6 hours of the stuff to get up to speed. At least Sir Alec had the right idea and screwed Lucas for a percentage of the gross. The same goes for Red Dwarf. Not funny. Just not funny.

You gotta have faith? I have never read the Bible, The Koran, The Talmud or any other sacred philosophical text and nor do I ever intend to do so. I was made to memorise The Lord’s Prayer when I was 4 and never understood what it was about. Then I went to Sunday school and learned all this stuff about a higher power who bossed everything about for reasons we were only meant to guess at. These turned out to be its own reasons and we couldn't question them. Then whenever anything or anyone I loved and valued died I was told they were with Jesus. What in great big buggering hell did a dead bloke want with Sooty and Gingey? Couldn’t he have got his own cats instead of taking my ones? I thought stealing was against his own rules anyway. I know this is a bit of a cliché but any philosophy that can be twisted and turned to suit any interpretation because it has a built in get-out clause in absolution, is a con and evil. Having said all that and doubtlessly insulted those to whom faith is a necessary part of their life, my atheism is worn inconspicuously under my sleeve. To be honest, my lack of faith isn’t important to me in that I am quite content to bumble along not asking the kind of questions that end up upsetting half the world. I don’t need to believe in something neither do I need not to believe in anything. Therefore, as I have nothing to preach about, I shan’t.

I am a bloke who likes football yet I have only ever been to two professional football matches in my entire life. A school trip to Crystal Palace v Leeds Utd (2-2 and you could hear me shouting at Brian Moore on the commentary because we were behind the gantry) in November 1972 and Ashford Town v Walsall (1-3) in the 3rd round of the cup in 1975. That was because proper football had come to Ashford at last. Being from the south I have “followed” Manchester United ever since I knew what they were, largely I think because they played in red, my favourite colour, and George played for them. But even though I now live only 30 miles from Old Trafford, Only a large team of the wildest dogs would be able to drag me there on match day. Football crowds scare me and after all, it’s only a game. On the other hand, point me at a cricket match and I’m the proverbial smelly pig because, as everyone knows, football is for life cricket is for eternity.

I was born in London. Both of my parents have strong connections with the city, Dad especially, and I spent a lot of time there. I lived there from the age of 19 until 41 and my children still live there. Nothing on this planet would ever entice me to ever want to live there again. It’s a well full of arrogant wankers. They are the nearest we have to flat earthers with seemingly no concept of the outside world unless it can be packaged up and presented on the life pages of what used to be broadsheet newspapers and able to be read between 10 tube stops. Has everyone forgotten the Guardian was a provincial paper? Evacuate all the decent people (my kids, Sharon’s mum and Geoff and Betty and drop a dirty bomb on it so we can still look at the architecture). Eastenders? Yuravinallarrf, incha? What an absolute load of toss. Only one family on the take and without being divisive, an Englishman runs the chippy AND the caff? Where’s the Somali grocery selling bushmeat and khat? And the litter? And the white kids trying to be Jamaicans? And the flytipping on every bit of open space? Here’s some advice for Londoners: don’t believe all you read in the papers. Property prices everywhere in the provinces are approximately 5 times what they are in Edgware. You can’t buy any kind of cheese anywhere except Kraft Dairylea and the salads you get in gastro-pubs contain hard boiled eggs, rolled up slices of ham and yesterday’s cold potatoes covered in Heinz salad cream and we like it like that. Frisé? Haircut. Better stay where you are then.

Stew anyone?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Passing through

Ah, the mysterious world of Google. Again somebody has sought me out through Google, this time the Canadian version, using the phrase "goats pupils". Once more they have skipped over the first four entries dealing with the real thing and landed here. Which as you can see, is the previous entry in this here load of toot dealing with the self same subject. I am amazed and heartened to see that I no longer have to make any effort to write anything sanguine, uplifting or indeed thought provoking (as if I ever did as it's too much like hard work) as this blog is now placed in a self-perpetuating kind of loop. I can now get on with my work.


Before I go, this is mildly interesting. This morning while queueing in Argos, I happened to bump into one of my old supervisors from when I worked in Defra, over three years ago. Apart from telling me his part of Defra is going to be renamed the Department of Rural Happiness or something along those lines (which will doubtless lumber the taxpayer with having to pay for several hundred temporary staff to contact the farming community and countless other rural agencies in order to inform them of the name change but that everything else remains the same and you can continue to contact the same representatives etc...blah blah), he informed me that "The BBC published the results of that test (on the swan) before we even knew about it." I don't understand the ramifications of that but I'm sure there are conspiracists out there who could spin it out into the flimsiest of yarn. The fact that I am actually a signatory to the Official Secrets Act (I am!) prevents me from commenting any further on this piece of scurrilous gossip (just thought I'd highlight that, should you be in any doubt) about the efficacy of our governmental agencies as I fear somebody would forget to pay the milkman were I to be banged up in chokey after the Margaret Beckett Stasi come looking for a stoolie.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Shaggy Dog

This is Poppy, our bitch. And yes, she is attempting congress with a piece of soft furnishing. I am not a dog person, never have been and don't profess to know much about them. Having known Poppy for the best part of 5 years now, I can't say my knowledge of canines has increased that much as she can by no stretch of anyone's imagination be considered normal. Sharon, on the other hand knows rather a lot, having owned and trained several of the things. For those that are interested, Poppy shares the genetic makeup of a Lakeland Terrier and a Jack Russell Terrier. There is possibly a large amount of something else in the mix; a large slice of Dundee cake maybe or even some Polyfilla. There is a definite influence of something that displays no capacity for intellectual reasoning on any level whatsoever behind those baby browns. As the saying goes, the lights are on but somebody else is feeding the cats.

However, the combination of Sharon's experience and my fierce intellect still has no answer to the question that raises its scruffy little urchin head above the parapet every six months or so namely why, in all that is sacred, does she spend several hours a day shagging a scatter cushion to destruction every time she's on heat? It appears this is a trait common to bitches even to the point that two bitches together will, in the absence of an inanimate substitute "get it on" in a "girl on girl" scenario. I do so hope I have not fired the imagination of the perverted web impresarios (oh yes - today, courtesy of AOL - no less - I have had a visitor seeking "stepdaughter wanking") who visit this site and that I will not now be deluged with Japanese spam displaying pictures of canine strap-ons. Her determination is quite staggering. She can do it for two hours at a stretch and she also knows no shame, putting on a floor show to delight our many visitors.

I will hasten to add that we do have a supply of ancient cushions should the gender exchange extend to the kind of secretion beloved of male fantasists everywhere (should teh interweb be believed). As yet, there has been no such traceable issuance. I really don't need to think about this much longer although I suspect several of you will now be engaged in either frantic research - don't bother, there isn't much to find - or thinking up some apt punnery for the commentary. Go on, do your worst.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Apparently I am 4th result out of 36,663 on MSN when folk search for "goats pupils." What's more disturbing is that somebody thought I would provide all the information they needed because the leading three entries showed evidence of actually dealing with the subject whereas mine started: "Watching the results on the teleprinter each Saturday was a must for all history pupils. A good one didn't guarantee leniency the following Monday, you just hoped it would." I wish these people worked for First Direct, viz:

"Hello, First Direct. May I take your name please?"

"Did you get the cheque I paid in on Tuesday, the one for £98,245?"

"We got one for £40."

"No, it had the wrong amount on. The bloke said I could change it."

"Oh, OK then. Bye."

This evening I have been a rockin' and a rollin' down with South Cheshire's finest liggers at Crewe's mighty Limelight Club. OK, that's a tad ambitious; I have been sitting on a 10" wide ledge with my mate Mark quaffing pints of Fuller's London Pride at not-London prices and tapping our feet roughly in time to the music.

I was attending an album launch for the first time in my life. I hasten to add I wasn't on the extensive guestlist as I'm not yet among South Cheshire's moving and shaking fraternity (one day I will be in "Cheshire Life," mugging alongside William Roache of Ken Barlow fame), so I paid £2.50 to get in. That didn't bother me at all. The occasion was the unleashing of Jim Kirkpatrick's album "Changed Priorities" on a largely unsuspecting world. He doesn't look it but Jim is only 4-years-old yet plays with an assuredness and fluidity of a man 12 time his age. For those familiar with the recent works of Thea Gilmore, he provides the guitar work for her live and recordedly. I'm crap with song titles but one or two stood out: he did a fine and accomplished version on a National of Robert Johnson's "Walking Blues" and a version of Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Texas Flood" that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. He can certainly play alright. What's more, he's a fellow Rory Gallagher fan so that's a big plus in my book and I think that probably means there won't be too many Slipknot covers worked into his set unnoticed. I am looking forward to his acoustic set in a couple of weeks down at the Shroppie Fly in Audlem and I'd love to plug his album but I can't find a link to it. I bought a copy and he signed it so it does exist. When I get one, I'll insert it. A link I mean. He plays all over the place so keep an eye open.

For Betty, South Cheshire fashion demands ladies must wear tight jeans and small jackets and clutch their handbags across their midriffs, like they did 25 years ago. Gentlemen, black corduroy caps are de rigeur. I'm not sure the crowd was totally representative of Cheshire's grooviest hep cats as most seemed to be on the guestlist and were of the kind one would normally not expect to see in a seriously rock establishment. I noticed tonight they dispensed with the doormen which kind of means something. I enjoyed it.

Just You Mark My Words No 1

I have decided to do an occasional prophesy. Many times I have guessed correctly the outcome of certain events in the privacy of my own head so this is more so I can actually point to something and say that well, yes I did actually say that and I'm not being wise after. I don't profess to have any clairvoyant powers either so most of this is just wishful thinking. One thing I will not attempt to predict is the outcome of any cricket match. I am satisfied that my talents in this direction are woefully inadequate although I guarantee my attendance at any cricket match will reap dividends for the team I am not supporting.

OK, here it is. Straight from the goat's mouth:

Chelsea are chokers. They will be overtaken by Manchester United with one game to go. United have hauled in a big lead before, it's looking increasingly likely they can do it again.

That's it.