Saturday, December 30, 2006


Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday dear mee-eee,
Happy Birthday to me.

So, what have I got. *Rummages through pile* Ah! An execution. How thoughtful. Wrong person though, which means there's still time to sort out him and her.

Some spending money for Morocco

Some underwear. Thanks Mum. Well, I'm 46 these things are important.

A new chin

That's buggered the Brian Blessed-o-Gram business I had planned. I'd been practising, too. Look. "Gordon's alaahyive...?" It's wiped years off me, I now look 44, which was how old I was when I let it grow. I've been reliably informed that this new design is quite likely to cause female undergarments to ping off uncontrollably. I'll test it later when I walk down North Street. Actually, I now look more like this man, a fact that has been noted several times over the years. I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

A knighthood for this man. Means I now have to go back and re-re-edit Tony's book because Tony was once the double bassist in his quintet, albeit a very early incarnation thereof. Sir George's favourite wartime breakfast was porridge and pickles. I could go for that.

I haven't as yet received anything traditionally smutty from my best friend. Although I'm hoping.

I'm off to tone this wreck of a body with some hard physical work in the garden. Got to keep fit and firm.

(I've had this banging around in my head for two days now. Can I make it go away now and have this instead?)

Friday, December 29, 2006


Do I attract you?
Do I repulse you with my queasy smile?
Am I too dirty?
Am I too flirty?
Do I like what you like?

I could be wholesome
I could be loathsome
I guess Im a little bit shy
Why dont you like me?
Why dont you like me without making me try?

I try to be like Chris Kelly
But all his looks were too sad
So I try a little Freddie
Ive gone identity mad!

(Lots of Justin Darkness Impressions)

I heard it right, yes?

Monday, December 25, 2006


Christmas Celebrity Death Special 2!!

Whoa-oa-oa! I feel a bit ropey..!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Christmas Celebrity Death Special!

Goodbye, my darlings!

Friday, December 22, 2006


This is quite fretful. I have been tagged and I feel duty bound to answer it. My problem is that my answers will only serve to reveal what a boring taggee I am thus supporting certain allegations made by the tagger over the years and further propelling me out of the shallow end of the slough of despond I've been trudging around this past couple of weeks. She's right though, I don't think I've actually done one before so I might as well.

Four jobs I’ve had:

1) I haven't actually had many jobs. At college in Rochester in 1980, to augment my meagre grant I worked as a chef in an American diner. I used to make a mean club sandwich and stupendous banana splits, which the owner's brother (the owner was banged up in Canterbury nick, framed by the police, allegedly) used to keep in the freezer overnight to have for breakfast.

2) I collected tolls at the Dartford Crossing for six years. The public are wonderfully friendly and generous. Professional drivers are beautiful people, brimming with skill and totally lacking arrogance and I'd pay money to have all their babies. Itinerant block paving and tarmac skimming operatives will always stop and give you the time of day in their engaging brogue.* On the other hand, Frank Bruno is a bloody nice bloke and has the biggest hands I've ever seen in my life. Honest.

3) The first job I had after moving to Crewe in 2002 was as an inventory controller for Twyfords in their distribution centre in Alsager, Cheshire. It was the biggest building I'd ever been in, the size of 12 football pitches, and contained over 40,000 khazis of which only 2 were serviceable. I'm still not sure what I was meant to be doing there.

4) As a kid I picked strawberries on the farm next door. I still owe Des 14p for the extra box I claimed by mistake. I was round Des' this morning getting hay for the ponies but I never saw him. I still can't afford to pay him back.

Four places I’ve lived:

1) Ashford, Kent. I grew up there from the age of 9 months until I left at 18, 27 years ago. The house is at a place called Bromley Green, 2 miles from the nearest village in any direction and it used to be 4 miles from the edge of town. It's now only 2. I am back there now.

2) Chatham. Digs while at college. If anyone knows the area, the Weedswood estate. It's a beautiful and very inspiring location for the aspiring artist and the Poacher's Pocket is probably the most aptly named hostelry in the country.

3. Lewisham. From 1980-84 with my future ex-wife. 3 flats. Lots of falling down ceiling grief and mice.

4. Crewe. It's where 90% of my post goes and where a special person also lives. I'm sorry, you didn't need that but it's true. I'm a lifetime member of the Limelight Club so I daresay I'll pop back now and again. I hope that won't be the only reason.

Four favourite foods:

1) My own cottage pie. Packet mixes are OK but what are cupboards full of stuff you keep buying and never using for, after all. I put apples in it.

2) Monkfish in a puy lentil gravy from the Bear's Paw in Warmingham, Cheshire. The best meal I've ever eaten. Yes, they called it gravy. The rest of the menu was in English so why not the sauce?

3) A good strongish cheddar cheese and Branston sandwich made with white crusty doorsteps the size of the London Eye. Proper man's food. Although I have been taken by Marianne's tomato and basil sandwiches. They are a bit girly though so I have to make them on white and maybe with a bit of ham in and stuff the constitution.

4) I'm partial to a bit of whitebait. Tony, one of my clients, takes me to a restaurant in St John's wood called Tino's. It's never going to be the world's greatest restaurant but the food is good enough for me and the owner's dead friendly. It's a proper local restaurant where locals go to avoid cooking lunch. His whitebait starter is a meal in itself and is beautiful.

Four movies films I could watch over and over:

This is a hard one. I'm not the world's greatest film buff. I'll go to the pictures occasionally and I usually like to laugh so you can forget art movies which are just a load of old toss usually. That's such a presumptuous phrase anyway; aren't all movies "art" in the same way that Turner and Tracy Emin are artists? Borat nearly made me wet myself but I can't take that much schadenfreude in repeated doses. So, anyroad, sorry if these seem to be mainly off the eye-level shelves at Blockbuster.

1) Any of the Wallace and Gromit ones but the Rabbit one was just brilliant. Nothing wrong with being a big kid. Only seen it once.

2) Life of Brian. I've got it on DVD but oddly enough, I've never got round to watching it again. He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy.

3) Tremors. Don't ask me why. It's that one with Kevin Bacon in about the sandworm type things out in the Nevada desert or wherever. Typical buddy/ensemble movie, loads of great lines and a feelgood ending. I don't go out looking for it, it's on telly about every six months and I always seem to catch it. Can't switch it off whenever I do though.

4) The only art one. A film I can't watch anymore because it's only available on DV tape and my camera's bust. Made in 2002 at one of Crayford's premier indoor locations (No 6, Green Place), the leading protagonists were at the top of their game. The lighting was crap because we had to keep the curtains pretty much closed. "That" kind of art. Oh for heavens' sakes, what are video cameras for anyway?

Four TV shows I enjoy:

This isn't exhaustive. I don't watch a huge amount of telly but these can usually be found to offer a diversion:

1) Whatever the cricket highlights are called and whatever the proper cricket coverage will be called when the government gives it back to the people. I will enjoy watching Murdoch's funeral, over and over again. C4nt.

2) Sunday evening family dramas on ITV. I've probably just eaten so don't tax me. Heartbeat, The Royal, Midsomer Killing Fields any of that lot.

3) Corrie. It's the only soap worth watching, chuck.

4) I'm a bit stuck now. OK, Parky. But back on the BBC please. He's a skilled and intelligent interviewer and knowledgeable hack of around 50 years experience. Love him when he goes all starstruck. Last week to Diaz, C. "When did you realise you were beautiful?" Mike, she makes my trousers go lumpy, too.

Four places I’ve visited:

Countries or what? I'm not the world's most extensive traveller but there are places I've been that I've enjoyed and would visit again. These aren't necessarily those.

1) Denmark. I've not travelled it much but I've been many times. It was the scene of many family holidays in the 80s and 90s and my then in-laws were not tourists. However although the West Jutland coast around Esbjerg, Varde and Ribe isn't particularly inspiring aesthetically, it feels homely.

2) Germany. Again, not extensively travelled but when I met my first wife back in 1979 her dad was posted back out to BAOR and they lived in Duesseldorf so I got to visit lots. Done most of Nordrhein Westfalen though and all the touristy bits like the Drachenfels...and had an Eisbein in Cologne. One of the reasons why the German cuisine is possibly even less renowned than our own and the Germans lack a sense of humour.

3) Dungeness. One of my favourite places on earth. It's windy, barren and about as remote as it's possible to be in south-east England yet it's possessed of a surreal beauty. The juxtaposition of fishermen's huts made largely of old railway carriages and two massive nuclear power stations, one of which my Grandad helped to design, seems to work. It's been partly spoilt over the last 15 years or so by bastard townie ponces from that there London, thinking they're aping Derek Jarman by moving into the huts and making proper houses of them. Jarman appreciated the sparseness of the environment and kept his house, Prospect Cottage, in the vernacular. Next time I go down I might have to smack some of them about a bit.

4) This place. Top lovely people Stephen and Caroline live next door with their owner, Roger the Cat.

Four places I’d like to visit:

1) I would love to visit the Maldives, too. Sitting around for a week doing nothing because there's bugger all to do sounds pretty cool. Need an invite.

2) The North Pole before it stops freezing over.

3) West coast of Ireland.

4) A proper desert. Just for a couple of days

Four websites I go to daily:

1) This blog and most of the others on my blogroll.

2) Wikipedia

3) The Scotsman. I'm not Scottish and have no Scottish antecedents. I just made a personal vow I'd never quote the Guardian if I could help it. Plus they have an annual haggis hunt.

4) Cricinfo. It's about trance and electronica.

Four people I tag to do this list:

I won't bother with this bit. First four just shout and acknowledge. If it's more then who cares.

*Possible lies

Monday, December 18, 2006


In time-honoured fashion:

He's back! He's not dead!

And about bloody time.


I fell asleep listening to the first few overs. As if by some grand design, at 5.12 I awoke suddenly to hear "Panesar swings! Out!"

Bollocks. Yesterday couldn't have ended any other way, it wasn't exactly the happiest day of my life as it was.

My only scant consolation is that Murdoch will probably have to sell Myspace to pay for it. That wasn't the result you were after, was it Rupe. You honestly didn't think England could make a series of it did you?

I'm going over to Betty's where I'm sure the mince pies and mulled wine will be out in a place filled with festive cheer.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Probably the most bizarre headline from yesterday.

World's Tallest Man Saves Dolphin

He's a Mongolian herdsman. Bits of Mongolia are about as far from the sea as it's possible to be so I'm trying to imagine the conversation.

Mongolian Herdsman: Hello, Gobi 351. Mongolian Herdsman here. Hang on, let me sit down, this is a small yurt.
Aquarium: Hello, Mongolian Herdsman, it's the aquarium.
MH: The what?
A: Aquarium. Where they keep fish.
MH: The river?
A: No, the Aquarium. We keep fish in glass tanks for people to look at.
MH: This is a joke, right?
A: No, no. It's for tourists to see what happens underwater. I'm kosher, honest.
MH: So what's this got to do with me? I'm a busy man, I've got herding to do. My yaks are restless.
A:We need your help. Two of our dolphins are sick.
MH: Dolphins?
A: Yes. They're like fish but they're not fish.
MH: You've lost me.
A:They're mammals, like your yaks and almost as big. No legs. But they live in the sea, like fishes, and they do tricks.
MH: The sea? Tricks?
A: Like a big river but you can't see the banks if you stand in the middle. And er...they jump out of the water and take a fish out of someone's mouth. The kids love it.
MH: Sweet Jesus! Look, I'm trying to take this in. You've called me in from herding to tell me that your underwater jumping yaks are ill, right? Can't you just kill them and eat them?
A: No way! The press would have a field day. We're just getting it together after all the Tiananmen Square shit so we can't afford to ruin it. We've got the Olympics in a couple of years and the world and his wife'll be here.
MH: Are we on the same planet? Look, just tell me where I fit in to all this.
A: You've got the longest arms ever in the whole wide world, right?
MH: Yes, they are long, I can get them right round a yak's belly when we have yak wrestling on Saturday evenings. I'm the daddy, me.
A: We know. We need a favour.
MH: Fire away!
A: We'd like you to stick your arm down the dolphin's throat right into its stomach and pull some stuff out that shouldn't be there. We'll send a car round.
MH: (Clunk. Brrrr...)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It's been a rough old couple of weeks. As far as my life has gone so far over the last 45 years it's pretty much the nadir. Oddly enough, the one thing that I thought would bother me more than anything has been the easiest to deal with. We're talking and I'm sure we're get through it OK. Thanks for all the messages of support, much appreciated, and I can probably speak for both of us there.

No, like some kind of shitty osmosis, high pressure woe seems to attract even more to it and I'm now leaving a trail of destruction in my wake. First there was the accident. On Saturday while I was on my way down here, in fact not 15 miles from "home", a bloke in one of these tried a rather ambitious overtaking manoeuvre on a greasy road and approaching a bend. He passed the Mercedes 100 yards behind me, then the Mondeo right behind me but his bottle went as he approached my rear. To be honest, he was going so fast that I hadn't really seen him until he filled my wing mirror (although I'd seen him a few miles back at a junction) while he prevaricated over whether to finish off passing me. There was enough road but he decided against it, went to pull in behind, braked, clipped my rear bumper and spun/cartwheeled into the ditch at around 80 or 90 mph. I was doing around 45. We all stopped and watched in amazement as he climbed out and staggered across the road with just a minor headwound. I've actually emailed Westfield to congratulate them on the integrity of their vehicles. His name was Paul, he was very magnanimous about it and now he's 30 grand down. There's superficial damage to my car, just a minor fleshwound, so I won't be compounding his misery by claiming. I do wish people would keep to their racing ambitions on the race track though; he was very lucky.

The worst thing to pass over the last few days has been just been closed out today. On Sunday morning I went to take some feed up to Chalkey, my nephew's little white Shetland pony. He didn't want to come down from the top orchard but we thought he was being bothered by the knee high mud-bath at the gate between the two fields. Understandable when you're a little on the short side. I decided to try and lead him back but was shocked when he turned his head round to reveal blood streaming down his right cheek, apparently from his eye. I yelled back for my mum to phone my sister and the vet because it was obviously going to need attention. Well, the vet came and was bothered. It didn't seem to be an injury, his face was clean otherwise, no muddy hoofmarks from larking about with the others. The eye was filled with blood and pus and it was leaking out from somewhere. Not pretty. He'd lost it and he thought it would need to be removed. This is not an easy operation as it involves a full anaesthetic and well, it costs a fortune, about £2.5k, and sadly Chalkey wasn't insured. The poor thing was already facing an operation to remove his penis because it had tumours on it but that was scheduled for next year.

It didn't matter. The vet went away saying he'd do some research to see if the eyeball could be saved as it was mystifying why this had happened. He'd come back Tuesday and left us some anti-biotics and painkillers. What was causing the pressure build-up? There was no sign of any other illness or injury, after all. Yesterday I went out early to see him and was bothered by his other eye. It seemed redder than usual but when he came towards the light it didn't appear too bad. When the vet saw him later he looked upset. The blood vessels in the good eye were now also swelling and it didn't look good for him. It wasn't an easy decision to make for Jen, my sister, but it was the only realistic one and yesterday was spent giving him lost of hugs and plenty of carrots. He'd been quarantined away from the other two horses because one of them had taken to licking his eye and if it was a viral thing we didn't want it to spread.

This morning Chalkey's short little life was ended and even my dad, who's usually as hard as nails around this kind of thing, was visibly moved. The Chalk (my own name for him) was only about 6 years old and was a rescue pony. The last three years had been good for him though and he was adored by everyone. He'll be missed.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Last week my computer crashed and died. I lost everything, including all my emails. Because I'm quite anal about collecting things like that (although not to the extent of making back-ups), I lost every single email Sharon had sent to me, usually from the bedroom to my position either in the kitchen or on the settee, over the last three years or so. Some of these would just be as short as "No" or as banal as "Can I have some cheese next time you come up?" I couldn't bear to delete anything written by her, especially after her brush with mortality a few years back, for fear that it might presage some awful event.

Seems I was right. I'm back with Mum and Dad, she's got the rat (and my beer, come to think of it).

She was, still is and always will be, very special. Thanks for the last five years, babe. I'm only sorry it couldn't have been longer the way we wanted it to be.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I don't know if this is going to work. I'm having to use an old laptop because mine's dead and this one doesn't like blogger for some reason and only allows short posts. Oh well.