Monday, 30 August 2010

Sacre bleu!

As I tried to explain to his mother, the problem with dressing Jamie up as French fashion designer cum perfume maker Jean-Paul Gaultier is the risk of him starting to believe he actually is Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Sunday, 29 August 2010


A quick "shout out" (is that what the 'young people' still say these days?) to my old mate Dave (that's him on the left) who has just returned home after another seven months fighting the filth in Afghanistan (he did six months the last time).

I, for one, am not worthy.

It's just not cricket

This is my ticket for the one-day international cricket match between England and Pakistan, due to take place in two weeks' time at Headingley (you can tell it's mine because my name is on it).

It cost me fifty quid.

Give the corruption allegations now surrounding several members of the Pakistani cricket team, that was money well spent wasn't it?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Do you think he likes Fireman Sam?

I just can't make up my mind.

(Sorry it's so dark).

Appearances can deceive

You really do learn something new every day.

I was heading into Pudsey Leisure Centre a few hours ago for a "light mid-morning workout" when I noticed the stone above on the outside wall of the building.

Had you any idea Prince Andrew was so old?

Credit where it's due, though - he really has looked after himself.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Whoopie doo

Check out our new graphite effect washer/drier, delivered only this morning.

It can wash, it can dry and, well, I think that's about it. But, you know, still quite impressive. For a washer/drier.

The next task will be to try to work out which button does what.

Somehow I seem to recall the start of previous August Bank Holiday weekends being a little more exciting than this.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


We've got a major problem with Jamie: he's been telling lies at nursery.

Yesterday, whilst she was picking him up, it was reported to Vanessa that he'd been asked over breakfast what his mother and father were up to at that moment.

After thinking for a short period, he replied: "Mummy's fallen down the toilet......and Daddy's washing his hair."

But, in truth, she hadn't - and I wasn't.

Now I just don't know what to do.

Should I simply have a quiet word or - my current thinking - hand him straight over to the police?

I think I'll sleep on it for one more night.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

DC and me

I heard yesterday's news about the latest Prime Ministerial baby whilst travelling home from work and, I have to say, it really shook me up.

Yes, I'm delighted for David and Samantha Cameron, particularly after the tragedy of losing their son - "that" picture of Mr Cameron kissing his little boy still gets me every time.

But it was the sheer joy in his voice at the reality of being a father again that truly jolted my mind into overdrive.

It's now less than four months before Vanessa gets the chance to shoot another sprog out (and three if she's as early as SamCam).

And whilst I do think about that prospect fairly frequently throughout the average day, I sometimes do "forget."

But David Cameron's excitement has now got me personally very excited indeed (feel free to join in).

As an aside, I must concede I'm not bowled over by the happy couple's name choice - Florence Rose Something-Cornish - and I doubt White Jnr will be having any of those (especially if it's a boy).

However, there is one similarity between the Prime Minster's situation and my own; like him, my role in choosing the name of our baby will be advisory rather than decision-making.

Because whilst Vanessa may not be wearing any pants when the big moment comes, she'll still be wearing the trousers.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Bottom of the class?

You've probably heard that today's GCSE results were, for the 23rd successive year, the "best ever."

Therefore, as one of the poor souls who sat the very first GCSE examinations 22 years ago, I am forced to conclude the following:

Not only do we class of '88 obviously remain the most ancient group of individuals to have collectively taken GCSEs, we are still officially the thickest.

A big gold star for us.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Gay rabbit, anyone?

Jamie seems to be picking up new words and sayings every day now and generally, when he recites one, Vanessa and I react with pride and praise.

But yesterday's phrase of the day was a bit of a shocker. And even worse - it's stuck.

We had just finished dinner at his Grandad Geoff's last night and were beginning to gather up his bits and pieces prior to departure. Meanwhile, Jamie himself was getting restless.

In a generous attempt to keep him amused, Geoff's wife Suzi fired up the telly to search for some suitable kiddie programme to kill a few minutes.

And it was at this point that she stumbled across the Gay Rabbit channel.

A little bit of research has since revealed the Gay Rabbit channel to be, "the UK`s leading chat and date TV station on Freeview and is the place to come for fun, friends and lively chat, and where you can perhaps find a true partner for life." (So know you know).

However, on finding said channel, Suzi uttered, with some bemusement, the words, "Gay rabbits?!"

To be followed, a couple of seconds later, by Jamie announcing, much more loudly: "GAY RABBITS!!!"

Needless to say, the rest of us laughed and the more we laughed, the more he bellowed: "GAY RABBITS!!! GAY RABBITS!!!"

It was one of the last things he said before going to bed last night and, even worse, one of the first phrases he shouted this morning.

I have little doubt that gay rabbits will now play a significant part in our lives for some time to come.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

And finally

No trip to the Causeway Coast would be complete without a prolonged stop off at the amusements in Portrush.

And, to their immense credit, Jamie's cousins Katie and Sebastian treated him like a king.

On the mini-planes...

...on the water splashy thingy...

...which Mummy also loved...

...similarly the mini-train...

...and the mini-roller coaster which, not being pregnant, I was volunteered to go on (Jamie's on the other side of me, I promise).

Needless to say the day ended with ice cream (or popcorn if your name is Sebastian).

Jamie and I are heading back for a lads only trip in November. Hopefully he'll have caught up on his sleep by then.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Trip down South

It'll be a week tomorrow since Vanessa and I had our solo (i.e. Jamie wasn't with us) overnight jaunt to the place that makes Dubai seem like one big pound shop: Dublin.

I hadn't visited the Fair City for more than 20 years. Indeed, I'd only ever been there three times previously, on each occasion to see Ireland playing rugby or to play myself. And I was too young to have a drink so wouldn't know how expensive it was back then.

But I can certainly tell you how expensive it is now - 12 euros 90 for two scoops anyone? I couldn't believe it. Indeed, so shocked was I that I had to have about another eight pints just to settle my nerves.

We spent most of our Sunday evening in the wonderfully-titled VAT Bar listening to some aging fiddley-dee-ers play the old faves - you can just about make two of their number out below.

Also in our itinerary was a look around the beautiful grounds of Trinity College (in which I insisted on having my photo taken at the exact spot where, as a member of the touring Coleraine Inst under-13s, I was first offered cocaine).

We bought Jamie a new duck for his bath or, to give it its proper title, a Paddy Quacker (pictured at the top).

And we stayed at The Clarence, a boutique hotel in Dublin's Temple Bar owned by Bono and The Edge from U2 (Vanessa got a deal).

It was certainly a nice place but it didn't have Sky Sports or tea-making facilities, both cardinal sins in my book.

Despite apparently being in the city that night, Bono was nowhere to be see or heard, the only conclusion therefore being he was boring the arse off someone else with tales of his general magnificence. That, for me, was a definite plus.

Friday, 20 August 2010

And the winner is..?

Tonight, dear friends, the Celebrity MasterChef road finally comes to an end when (from left to right) either Big Dick Drawbridge*, Lisa Faulkner or Christine Hamilton is crowned as the 2010 champion.

As a BBC man himself, Wee John should clearly be neutral on such matters.

But can you guess who his money is on?

* Yes, I know his name is Strawbridge, but surely it should be Drawbridge.

Images of home

There were several sights from our week away that will stick long in my mind.

The picture above was taken in Portrush and, whilst it might not be as warm as many more far flung beach locations, the Causeway Coast can certainly compete with any in terms of setting.

Next we turn to "clever" and the tips plate in an increasingly popular coffee shop in the centre of Coleraine. I loved this.

And finally, just funny, spotted on the motorway near Balllymena. Anyone fancy a trip on a Paddy Wagon?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

She should hide her head in shame

My mother is a bit mad.

And, like most mothers/grandmothers, she likes to spoil the young 'uns whenever she gets the chance.

Jamie did particularly well out of her during our week at home, but he wasn't alone.

Because my nephew Nathan (above) also had a very special surprise on Tuesday when he travelled up from Belfast to Portstewart to visit his granny.

My mother had promised him a coat, see. And when my mother makes a promise, she tends not to disappoint.

But here's the thing.

As well as being a loving mother and grandmother, Mrs W is also an eBay junkie. She can't get enough of it. Indeed, she gets so many mysterious parcels from China these days that I'm surprised she hasn't yet been arrested on suspicion of being a spy.

However, back to the point. Whilst you can obviously find many wonderful bargains on eBay, the slight downside is that you can't get to see what you've actually bought until the postman hands it over.

Nathan's new coat arrived from goodness knows what part of the planet a little while ago, my mother had a quick check and all seemed well.

So it was only after he got round to trying it on for size on Tuesday that the "added extra" - physically sewn into the hood - became apparent.

It's just a shame that Northern Ireland's traditional summer rioting season is almost at an end.

She's a doctor and she's ****

I'll tell you more about our little jaunt across the Irish Sea in subsequent posts, but first I must get something off my chest.

It's my useless doctor again. Yes, it's Dr Shit.

Never once in a significant number of visits to Dr Shit's Surgery, both on my own or with Jamie, has Dr Shit ever told me anything I didn't already know (Vanessa has had similar experiences).

She really is the original self-service GP; you go in, tell her what's wrong, prescribe yourself a drug and she signs the form. Indeed, the only constant surprise is the fact she can write her own name.

The reason for my current frustration is that my sinusitis is back. It kicked in last night and, this morning, I phoned to try to get a GP appointment to get it sorted. Sadly, only Dr Shit was available - Dr Shit is always available - and 20 minutes later I was in there; just me, her and her vacant look.

Here's how the conversation went.

Barry: "Good morning doctor. It's my sinusitis again. I'll need more antibiotics. But last time you said you would refer me and then nothing happened. I come here twice a year with this, you give me antibiotics and send me away. Then, six months later, I have to come back. Is there anything else you can do or can you send me to someone who can?"

Dr Shit: "Let me look at your notes. Yes, you were here twice last year but only once this year."

Barry: "Right. And?"

Dr Shit: "The antibiotics work, don't they?"

Barry: "Yes, but that's not really the point. Why wasn't I referred last time after you said I would be?"

Dr Shit: "I didn't think it would make much difference."

Barry: "Right. So you think I should keep coming to see you every six months to pump myself with antibiotics? That's hardly a solution, is it? Is it possible to have my sinuses washed out or something?"

Dr Shit: "Yes."

Barry: "So can you book me in then?"

Dr Shit: "No, I don't think it will make much difference. Why don't I give you some more antibiotics."

Barry: "Good thinking doctor."

Dr Shit: [Signs prescription]

Barry: "Thanks. See you in six months then."

Dr Shit: "Yes, bye."

Methinks it's time to do something radical. It's time to demand an appointment with Dr Not-Shit. He's a real doctor.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

And we're back

This is how tired Jamie was shortly after clambering on to the 1157 Coleraine to Belfast train at the beginning of our journey home (I've always found that actually being asleep is normally a reasonable indicator of tiredness).

That journey ended about 90 minutes ago when we pulled up outside our house to find that all our windows were still in place, there were no signs of forced entry and our car hadn't been nicked - thanks Pudsey people.

But, like Junior, I'm also wrecked - the picture gives that fact away too - so will wait until tomorrow before relaying some of the happenings of the last seven days.

Before then, Vanessa and I have to catch up on four hours of Celebrity MasterChef.

Because yes folks, it's time to get back to reality (television).

Saturday, 14 August 2010

You're having an update (whether you want one or not)

You didn't honestly think I'd really be able to wait an entire week before updating this drivel, did you?!

But don't be alarmed, I'll not say much.

In short, the weather's been bright but not warm, the activities have been hectic, the company's been highly amusing, the food's been filling and the Guinness has been cold - all happily predictable, I'm delighted to say.

Best of all, Jamie appears to have enjoyed every second (although the concept of a scooter sadly seems to have evaded him).

Tomorrow, Vanessa and I are due to head south (on our own - woo hoo!) for two days in Dublin, including a stay at Bono and The Edge's hotel.

So expect the cliches to be at the fore when I get round to telling you how it went (to be sure).

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A tell tale sign

It was shortly after 7am this morning and Jamie had just fallen over for the second time since I'd dressed him.

There have been several occasions in the past when I'd put his shoes on the wrong feet and he'd fall over. So I checked his shoes, and they were fine.

I stood him up again, he shuffled a couple paces - and fell over for a third time.

Vanessa arrived in the room.

"I can't understand it," I said, slightly anxiously. "He keeps falling over. But it's not his shoes. Look, they're fine."

It was at this point that Vanessa went into what can only be described as fits of laughter, her voice becoming higher in pitch with every guffaw.

It must have taken her a good minute to compose herself before revealing what I'd failed to spot.

"You've both his feet into the same trouser leg."

It was then I knew that I desperately need a holiday. And, as luck would have it, that's just what I'm - or, rather, the three of us - are about to have.

We leave first thing in the morning for seven days in the Emerald Isle, mostly on God's Own Causeway Coast, but also including a night in what should be an "intriguing" venue south of the border.

I may or may not update this guff whilst I'm over; quite frankly, it will depend on how arsed I feel.

But if I don't manage to summon sufficient energy/enthusiasm, I hope you also have a good week (and I'd be grateful if you missed me just a little).

Monday, 9 August 2010

A sign of the times

The banner above has been erected outside a female-only gym opposite our house.

I don't know what you think, but I reckon he had a lucky escape.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Frank observations

It's August, the time of the year when, like many people, I generally manage to cram in about four books - before not reading again for another 11 months.

However, given the amount of time I'm spending on the train these days, I've actually been flying through many more pages than usual.

Over the last three weeks, I've read Chris Evans' autobiography (I like Chris Evans), Peter Kay's second autobiography (I like Peter Kay) and started Frankie Boyle's autobiography (I think I like Frankie Boyle).

Unlike the first two which are happy and uplifting, Frankie Boyle's book is a bit more on the dark side (its title, "My Shit Life So Far" kind of gives that away).

However, there are a couple of standout lines in the chapters I've completed that I thought I'd share with you (feel free to surf across to something more interesting if you've already "done" Frankie).

On the Pope:

"The Pope has said that condoms don't help prevent the spread of AIDS. Someone ought to tell His Holiness that he must be putting them on wrong."

And on Susan Boyle:

"A cafe owner said he saw her face in a slice of toast. So what? Every day I see her face in my toilet bowl."

OK, so I do like Frankie Boyle.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

My family and other animals

I'm not saying for a second that four-and-a-half-months pregnant Vanessa is massive or anything like that, but Jamie clearly would.

This morning, whilst she was in the shower, I thought it would be nice to try to explain to him just what is in Mummy's tummy.

Me: "Jamie. Do you know what's in Mummy's tummy?"

Jamie: [No comment]

Me: "Jamie, Do you know what's in Mummy's tummy?! It's a baby! Yes, Jamie, a baby!"

Jamie: [No comment]

Me: "Jamie. Mummy has a baby in her tummy! A baby! What does Mummy have in her tummy?"

Jamie: [No comment]

Me: "It's a baby! Jamie, Mummy has a baby in her tummy! What does Mummy have in her tummy?"

Jamie: "A baby!"

Result. And, right on cue, in walks Vanessa. It was time to impress.

Me: "Jamie. What does Mummy have in her tummy?"

Jamie: "Monkey!"

Me: "Nooooo. What does Mummy have in her tummy?!

Jamie: "Elephant!"


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Non-interesting silly-season fact

Do you want to hear something really dull?

No? Well, tough - I'm going to tell you anyway. (Just remember it's August and there's absolutely nothing going on anywhere).

The more "mature" individuals amongst you will no doubt remember the old-style train windows that you used to have to pull down before opening the door from the outside.

And then, of course, there were the standard windows in carriages that you opened to the designated position "for ventilation" or, more likely, someone in the seats in front of you opened far too far and almost blew your head off.

Those days are now long since gone with train windows in Great Britain, by law, no longer capable of being opened.

Apart from one (CUE REALLY DULL FACT).

The single exception is the window in Prince Charles' bedroom on the Royal Train because His Royal Heirness (and bow) refuses to sleep with his window shut, and therefore receives special dispensation. (Get him).

I did warn you it was dull (although perhaps you are a little surprised at just how dull. On the other hand, have you ever heard any interesting facts about Charles? Me neither).

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Up and down on the farm

As I mentioned briefly on Sunday evening, the Whites were invited to our friends Tim and Sarah's farm in the wilds of Richmondshire, North Yorks. (That's Tim above left, aka "The Farmer").

Also in the pic are Ian (whose leg Jamie is holding on to very tightly) and his lovely kids Tehya and Luca.

Ian's wife Nicole was in the farmhouse when this was taken, together with Sarah and Vanessa (probably all talking about shoes or something).

In fact, here are is everyone together (other than Luca, who was in the playroom, and me who was pointing and pressing - that's Tim's son Edward by the fire) after an excellent "indoor barbecue" (owing to the slightly dodgy weather).

However, back outside, I thought it might be fun to do the opposite of "getting down with the kids" - "getting up with the kids."

And you can't get up much higher than this on four wheels.

I would probably still be there now if Jamie hadn't pooed.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Spot the willy

Vanessa had her 20-week scan this morning and I'm delighted/relieved to say that all seems well.

The midwife-nurse-lady-woman asked us at the beginning if we wanted to know the sex, to which both of us immediately bellowed "NO!" (After all, surprises are few on the ground when you've been together for 13 years).

But we then spent the next quarter of an hour secretly and separately trying to find its willy.

I was convinced I'd located one about five minutes in, only to discover it was the baby's thigh bone.

And Vanessa said afterwards that she thought she'd seen its dangly objects. However, I reckon these were the very same off-spherical specimens which had earlier been introduced to us as its kidneys.

So, the truth is that we genuinely don't have a clue (even through midwife-nurse-lady-woman did call it a "he" at one point well into proceedings, before quickly insisting she didn't know).

And do we care what we get?

Absolutely not - we'll take a healthy anything (other than a mini-Alex Ferguson which I, personally, could never learn to love).

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Here's looking at moo, kid

A particularly long and difficult night tonight in trying to get Jamie down, which was disappointing given the fun he'd had earlier on Tim and Sarah's farm in North Yorkshire.

More on all of that in the coming days following, what we hope, will be some good news first thing in the morning about a forthcoming event.

But, whilst you seek to contain your anticipation, I humbly invite you to suggest a suitable caption for the picture above.