Thursday, 28 April 2011

Long may they reign

I fear I've become a cynical old bastard (don't argue) in recent times but, having watched tonight's pre-event coverage of the Royal Wedding on the BBC 10 O'Clock News, even I can't help but wish our future King and Queen well.

The atmosphere in and around Westminster appears to be electric and the prospect of tomorrow's happy event is putting a smile on a lot of people's faces.  Given the difficulties this country is going through at  present, who could be anything other than welcoming about that? 

I was particularly impressed at William and Harry's decision to come out and meet the crowds on the Mall a little earlier this evening.  A little touch of class (in the literal sense) which many other individuals in public life simply fail - or are unable - to display these days.  Good for them.

Us Whites (roads permitting) will be watching tomorrow's proceedings from a caravan park (it doesn't get more British than that) in Norfolk.  We'll set off as soon as Jamie's had his morning dump and intend to be in front of a specially laid on big screen in time to watch Kate's walk up the aisle at 10.55am.  And then, according to the flier, we'll have a "street" (make that "caravan park") party - the mind boggles. 

But, get this - I only found out about half an hour ago - we're going to be located only eight miles from the Queen's country retreat in Sandringham. Now, according to today's news - and I have watched a lot - her and the Duke are due to depart Buck House in the early afternoon to leave the stage clear for the young 'uns.  (So why Prince Charles in hosting the evening do is beyond me).

And there's every possibility that they'll turn up in Sandringham.    

Should her and he make that journey, then so will we - before throwing stones at their bedroom window until they let us in and give us a drink.

Or maybe not.

Anyway, have a day and a weekend to remember - we're back on Monday.  

Big puff

Yes, I know Easter's over but I had to show you this.  You might not find it funny.  Indeed, you might find it wet. But it's my blog so let me indulge - briefly.

Our Jamie had the questionable privilege of taking part in two Easter bonnet parades this year. 

The first was at nursery where prizes were awarded for the best creations.  Sadly he didn't get one.  (For the record, his mother made it.  That said, my creation of last year did similarly badly - I'm still not fully over that, if truth be told).

And the second was at his playgroup on Tuesday past - thankfully still officially "Easter Tuesday" back in good old Norn Iron - where everyone got help to make similar head gear, before being asked to ponce about and being told "you're all winners!"  (How 2011).

You can see Jamie's creation above.  And, crucially, you should note the paper streamer thingy on the front - brings me neatly on to a very short piece of video.

Whoever placed his Easter bonnet on his head, did so in a way that left the paper streamer thingy falling over his face and into his mouth.

The obvious thing to do was for him to turn his hat around a little.  But, to be fair, he's still only two.

So, to nick and slightly amend a phrase from a well-known song: "Our runaway son run across the floor and he blew."

See for yourself.

Stamp? I hopped up and down

We've seen much cynical exploitation of the Royal Wedding over the last few weeks, but one piece of bandwagon jumping made me cringe above all others.

I was walking towards Clinton's to choose a card for my sister's birthday when I noticed a sign.

Inside I saw another...

...and another.

That's right, buy Kate, sorry Catherine (pardon me, Your Royal Highness) and William a wedding day card in Clinton's and they'll post it to the happy couple for free.  


No, seriously, please tell me that no-one - no-one - out there would be sad enough to do such a thing.

Would they?!

Anyway, if they would, you'd better tell them they're too late - as there's no post tomorrow.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Snooker - and BALLS!

Aside from doing a bit of work, sport has formed the backdrop to my existence over the last couple of days.

Last night I had the privilege of travelling down to Sheffield with my friend Daniel to watch a session of the World Snooker Championship.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that, when we got there, Dagenham Dave was waiting to greet us (he's the t*** in the hat, if it's not already obvious). 

Thankfully his seat was on the other side of the arena from us, although I could still see him out of the corner of my eye throughout.  It kind of spoilt the whole experience for me. 

And let's talk about Olympic tickets. 

Did you get your application in? 

Were you conservative in your choices or did you go a bit mad? 

I've been reading stories of some individuals who, if all their picks come in, will find £2,000 coming out of their accounts only weeks from now. 

What pussies they are. 

In for a penny, in for £3,181.48 - that's what I say.

Because that's how much I'll have to pay if I get all I've asked for.

Needless to say I haven't actually got that kind of money, and I don't expect to sleep much between now and my next bank statement.

Monday, 25 April 2011

A moment on the lips...

Jamie finished this glorious Easter weekend by taking part in an egg hunt.

The good news is that he found some...

...and then he ate some. 

Meanwhile, Charlotte performed the age-old "chocolate's not for me" trick.  

But, as a female (albeit one with no teeth), it was obvious that she was dying inside.     

Friday, 22 April 2011

Good BBQ Friday

In a first for this blog, you join me live from our back garden after I worked out that my wireless thingy works out here too.  (Cutting edge, I am).

Essentially the point of the next few days for Vanessa and me is to do as little as possible - without either Jamie or Charlotte noticing.

But clearly there will have to be some distractions.

Today's trick is an old-fashioned barbecue.  With me as hunter gatherer and tongman-in-chief.

As a special added treat, Jamie's favourite (not to mention only) godmother Vicky is here too.

This is great for lots of reasons, but most especially because Vicky is a piss head, I can drink more than usual and Vanessa can't shout at me.

But Charlotte couldn't be arsed to even make an appearance.

OK, not entirely true -  she was eventually forced to rise after blowing a hole in her nappy.  

Happy Good Friday.     

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

That's my ma

Above you can see a picture, sent to my phone last weekend, of my mother dressed as a "Dalek."  (Think Coleraine Borough Council issue compost bin).

I mean, what chance did I really have?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

It takes you back

One of the most positive aspects of becoming a dad, according to many well-meaning know-it-alls out there, is that it "makes you feel young again." 

And it's true.

Because last night Jamie kicked me in the balls. 

And I must have been all of 15 years old the last time I felt a pain like it.

Monday, 18 April 2011

New faces

I walked into our bedroom the other day to find Jamie in front of the mirror practising his new array of faces - the spring 2011 collection, if you will.

So I asked him to give me a private viewing. 

He began with "baffled"...

...before moving on to "stressed out"...

...then "quietly determined"...

..."proper angry"...

...finishing with "curiously amused."

And so was I.

Sunday, 17 April 2011


"You learn something new every day," so the saying goes.  And given how little I know about the world around me, that is certainly true in my case. 

But there's some stuff I would really rather not know. 

Take the existence of the "Shewee." 

Prior to yesterday afternoon, I had not heard of this new contraption which, according to the manufacturers, is "loved by women from all walks of life from polar explorers such as Ann Daniels to celebrities such as Fearne Cotton to those who are disabled; Shewee has revolutionised life for women everywhere." 

And if you are still in the dark, then here, dear friends, is its official product description:

"Shewee, the portable urinating device, is a moulded, water repellent plastic funnel that allows women to urinate whilst standing or sitting and without removing clothes.

"Uncomfortable squatting, sitting on unhygienic toilets and embarrassing bare bottoms are officially a thing of the past!"

Having read this, I remained genuinely none the wiser, so I sought further guidance from Vanessa (who thankfully is not a Shewee owner). 

And the best description for it we could agree on was a "pee chute" (as opposed to a pea shooter, which is something completely different). 

However, whilst I think I now know what it "does," I can't imagine for the life of me why anyone would want to do what it does. 

The one thing I can say for certain is that, at 39 years of age, I continue to have no clue what goes on in women's heads.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Barry's breakfast club

A new experience this morning when I gave not just one but both my sprogs their breakfasts.

I generally "do" Jamie at weekends but, owing to my absence of breasts (still a matter of huge regret to me), I haven't yet had the chance to feed Charlotte first thing.

However, a couple of days ago, Vanessa tried porridge out on her for the first time - and received the baby equivalent of a middle finger for her efforts. 

The same thing happened yesterday. 

So, this morning, I had a go.

And you can see Charlotte's empty bowl on the right .

It's at moments like this when I wish I smoked cigars.

Friday, 15 April 2011

She's the Best

As the quest to find Charlotte and Jamie's biological father continues, this morning I noticed that, in the right light, my daughter looks a bit like Ulster rugby captain Rory Best.  

However, after checking out the occupants of several prams on the way to work, I soon realised that every baby looks a bit like Rory Best.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

They can't be mine

I'm big enough, old enough and certainly ugly enough to appreciate that I look nothing like either of my two temperamental children. 

But, thanks to some great pics taken yesterday by their Grandad Mike, at least we now have the photographic evidence to prove that they look like each other.    

Flight of the Time Lords

Above was the scene at New Pudsey train station car park first thing this morning. And the more eagle-eyed amongst you will note that our pikey friends have miraculously disappeared.

Given the swiftness of their departure - the place was chock full of them only last night - one can but reach a single, obvious conclusion.

The Pudsey travellers were no ordinary travellers.  They were time travellers. 

And their caravans were no ordinary caravans.  Because each family had their own caravan-shaped Tardis.   

Next time, knowing my luck, they'll land in our garden.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Party in the (car) park?

Yup, our tar stained, pitch fork wielding, straw munching, carpet laying, peg selling, bare knuckle boxing, vest wearing, Sky TV watching adventurers have returned to New Pudsey train station.

And how lovely it is to smell them all again. 

I wonder if they're planning to stay long enough to throw a Royal Wedding car park party?

Monday, 11 April 2011

Tub scrub

I'm a man in all sorts of ways. 

For example, I've fathered two children, which I may have mentioned.  I love sport.  I stand up to pee. Beer's good.  And I sometimes spit when I'm out for a run. 

But I also have significant man failings.

My sense of direction is shockingly bad - a disability more commonly found in womenfolk. I'm not into cars (principally as I'm still not certified to drive one). I'm useless at DIY. I don't own a big dog. And, most notably for the purposes of this rambling, I hate gardening.

It was therefore with a significant degree of trepidation that, on Saturday past, I decided to clear out our garden "shed."  

I say shed but, in reality, it's more of a tub.  However, with the house move still officially subject to contract but most likely only a few weeks away now, it had to be done out of courtesy to our buyers. 

Because, despite the fact that we've lived in our present dwelling since October 2004, I never got round to dealing with the mess left in our tub by its previous custodian. 

The man who lived here before us made out he was being all charitable when he managed to sell me its contents for 40 squids.  But the truth, as it turned out, was that he off-loaded an aging lawnmower and a pile of shit for a rip off price.  And, most cleverly of all, it saved him the trouble of having to clear out his own pig sty. 

In there on Saturday I found a rusty car jack, several no-good-to-anybody gardening implements, half a bag of peat, some broken plant pots, half a dozen empty weed killer receptacles, a smeggy spirit level, an old newspaper, a burst football, a number of random pieces of wood, a bent golf club and a colony of creepy, crawly scaly thingies.  

But, crucially, I completed my man task - before running off screaming in the direction of the shower .

Next on my to do list is clearing out our cellar, a job I've literally saved for a rainy day.         

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Just look at at. Isn't it beautiful?

I took a few extra minutes just to touch it and to smell last time...then one more time.  

And then I cashed it in.

£5 each way at 16-1 equalled a payout of £110.

I'll never forget you, Ballabriggs.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Ready to make a splash

The sun's been out (even in Yorkshire) and, according to the Paul the Weatherman, we're set for a tropical weekend.

I don't know what you're planning for the next couple of days. 

But I do know one young lady who fancies a dip.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

A new Jamie emerges

Our Jamie is growing up.

I should have worked this out last night, but it was only this morning that the penny dropped.

I was just in the door from work yesterday when, as usual, White Jnr arrived demanding "a special treat."  (In Jamieland, that's code for chocolate. Or cake.  Or ice cream - you get the picture).

I'll normally quickly relent and give him something out of a Tupperware box we have crammed with unhealthy consumables.  But, before I do, I tend to ask him what he wants - then give him what he's given.

And yesterday was no exception - to begin with.

Me: "Have you been good?"

Him: "Yes."

Me: "What do you want?"

Him: "I want one of these."

He then opened a low cupboard, pulled out a mini-pack of Cadbury's Fingers, closed the door and marched off to the living room, stopping only to bellow, "THANK YOU!"

What?!  I was genuinely taken aback. When did our son become self-sufficient?!     

We fast forward to 7.35 this morning when I dropped him off at nursery.  He gets his breakfast there and, last week, he moved into the Pre-School Room - the "sixth form centre" of the Little People nursery, if you will.

In Tweenies, where he previously held residence, he would be asked what he wanted to fill his growing abdomen.  He would announce his choice and it would be brought to him with a bow. And that is exactly what Vanessa and I have been doing with him since he went on to solids.

But this morning I got a shock.

He pottered into the Pre-School Room and was asked what he wanted for breakfast.

"Rice Krispies," came his reply.

"OK," said one of the nice nursery ladies.

And I couldn't believe what happened next. 

He walked over to the table where all the breakfast necessaries were laid out.  He chose a bowl, lifted the box of Rice Krispies, filled his bowl, picked up a jug of milk, poured some over his cereal, chose a spoon, carried his bowl over to another table, sat down and began to eat.  No mess, no spills, no fuss.

This thunderbolt will not be forgotten come Saturday morning when, instead of me giving Jamie his breakfast, he'll be giving it to himself - and then making me mine.  (Vanessa can get her own).

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Northern numpties

I was handed a little flier at teatime as I boarded my fourth Northern Rail train of the day.  

It read as follows. 

"Leeds - Manchester Victoria: disruption over the last week

"We are very sorry for the disruption to your train services over the past week. There has been an unusual number of problems on this line including cable theft, vandalism and also signal failure which have all contributed to the delays.

"We're working closely with Network Rail to restore stability to the line and with British Transport Police to apprehend the cable thieves.

"If you would like any more information about the issues please contact our Customer Relations team.

"Thank you for your patience."

However, when I turned over, there were no apologies for the delays experienced last week, or the week before, or every other ****ing week since time began.

Funny, that.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The son's out

Jamie is now into his second full week of potty training and, whilst generally doing well, is still prone to the odd little "accident."

And sadly, in my book, if you behave like a dog, you go where the dogs go.


Sunday, 3 April 2011

It's the thought that counts

Vanessa began Mothers' Day 2011 with cards and a present from her offspring.

And then I took her for a special Mothers' Day lunch.  (Well, when I say "took," obviously, Vanessa had to drive us all).

And you didn't honestly expect me to pay for it, did you?   

Sadly, Wee John and I were forced to rush off to see Man City play Sunderland in 3D.

But she'd already had her fun.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

My girl lollipop

Whilst I thought Charlotte looked particularly fetching in her new multi-coloured sleep suit, Wee John, our house boy, said she resembled a Refresher Lolly.

He'll be leaving soon.

Friday, 1 April 2011

You should all get this wee one

Over the past couple of years on this date, I've demonstrated how much time I have to fill by featuring April Fools on this blog.  This was my 2009 effort.

And 2011 will be no exception. 

Ladies and gentlemen, Wee John.

The picture is life size.