Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Cookie Monster

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Naz.

Naz and I work together.

And Naz is one of life's good guys.

He also likes biscuits. Lots and lots of biscuits.

So yesterday, when the local bakery offered me the chance to buy a tonne of "reject" (i.e. they'd been sprayed with dark as opposed to milk chocolate) biscuits for £2.99, I didn't need a second invitation.

Neither did Naz.

There are none left.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Hasta la vista, birdie(s)

To the flying dump truck or dump trucks that did this to our car, be warned.

You will NOT be going to birdie heaven.

And, for your sake, I hope you don't meet me before you go to birdie hell.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Guiseley: Playground of the famous

I went for a run last night, during which I thought I spotted a famous face sitting outside The Wool Pack pub in Esholt (yes, the actual one that used to be in Emmerdale). 

So I stopped dead in my tracks - not a difficult feat given the slow pace I was travelling at - to stare manically at my subject. He looked back blankly.

The mystery man I refer to may or may not have been Ian "Hutchy" Hutchinson, the Isle of Man TT motorbike legend who won all five races at last year's event. (You have heard of him. Come on, think).

He was wearing Yamaha leathers and, given I know for certain that he does live in Guiseley, it might well have been him.  Or it might not.  Next time I may go up and ask.

Anyway, my possible (or not) brush with stardom sent me off wondering if Hutchy is in fact Guiseley's most famous resident.  So I checked on Wikipedia.

And it appears there are three - yes THREE - others vying for that title. 

First is former Yorkshire and England cricket captain and all-round hardman Brian Close.  (Trust me, he's dead famous.  Even in India).

Second is ex-Great Britain rugby league coach Brian Noble.  (He's incredibly well-known. Really).  

And third but by no means least is...get's only TASMIN ARCHER! Pretty bloody impressive, eh? Her sole hit, "Sleeping Satellite," remains a classic and can still be accessed in literally tens of jukeboxes across the globe.  

Honestly, we might as well be living in Monaco.       

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A date with destiny

Unless you live somewhere other than Planet Earth (or maybe Lisburn),  you'll probably be aware that the London Olympic Games get underway exactly a year from today.  And I can't wait. 

I mentioned here a few weeks ago that I had managed to secure tickets for a big event, but I wasn't sure what it was.

I have since been informed it is for a session of the rowing finals.  But here's the thing. 

The highlight of the morning in question will be Coleraine's Alan Campbell (hopefully) going for gold in the men's single sculls final. 

Here's what the BBC website said about him and it yesterday:

Campbell is hoping it will be a case of third time lucky.

He previously competed at the Olympics in Sydney in 2004 in the quadruple sculls, finishing twelfth.

He then went solo for gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.

He competed in the mens' 2,000m individual scull in China and was leading the field in the final for the first half of the race, only to be overhauled by the field and finish in fifth place.

It was a remarkable performance because he had picked up a virus the summer prior to the games and, after knee surgery, had been on crutches just a matter of weeks before competing.

He is determined to get it right in London next year. "It's looming on the horizon very quickly and when I think back to Beijing, it wasn't that long ago," he said.

"Everything we are doing now is in preparation and I'd give up any number of World Cup wins and this year's world championships just to make sure I could get on the start-line at London 2012.

"It is the absolute pinnacle - there is nothing close to it at all. I'll make every effort to make sure I go the quickest I can on 3 August next year - and that is pretty much my last thought when I go to sleep and the first when I wake up."

And you wonder why I'm excited?!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The clue is in the glass

Stepdad-in-law-cum-ace-tent-putter-upper Mike might think he's being clever by sending me a pic from last weekend as evidence that I did in fact "enjoy" the camping experience.

But I would simply set him this challenge.

Trying finding a photo of me not smiling when I've got a pint in my hand.

Because I think he'll struggle.   

Pointing out the not very obvious

Jamie and Charlotte had their first bath together last night.

And whilst he thought she would be fascinated by his Paddy Quacker, she decided there was something else in the water to which attention should be drawn.

That soon knocked the smile off his face.

Monday, 25 July 2011

A sign of the times

Just when you thought you'd seen it all, Vanessa's mum Judy spotted this notice at a Lake District camp site.

Words fail me, so I'll use no more.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

There's no place like home

Another annual camping weekend been and gone, and only 51 weeks and 6 days are left until the next one.  Seems a bit close for me.

To be fair, the kids loved it.  And even slept the night.

And, with sleeping done, Jamie couldn't wait to get back out there to do...something.

Sadly, it involved going to a North Yorkshire beach...

...which isn't quite in the same league as a Causeway Coast beach.

His displeasure made me proud. 

Very soon afterwards, it was time for home. 

He was wrecked...

...but Charlotte wasn't.

A fun couple of days, all said and done.

Most memorable moment?  For all the wrong reasons.  When Dagenham Dave got his big pole out.

Tired and predictable?  Absolutely.

But that's why we (pretend not to) love him.

Friday, 22 July 2011

It's that ******* time again

A week is a long time in politics, as the last seven days have obviously proven.

But in camping terms, a year is a very short time indeed.

Yes friends, it's time for the annual "get pi**ed on in North Yorkshire weekend."  My enthusiasm is well documented.

Still, as they say, it's for the kids.

I'll be back on Sunday.

Whether Jamie, Charlotte and Vanessa are with me is a matter for them.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

How will I ever get fit?

I was touched tonight (although thankfully not illegally). 

Regular readers (i.e. my mum, so just one then) will know that I took a tumble a week and a half ago whilst out training for the Great North Run. 

And, when I got back, cut to shreds and with at least one rib broken, I told Jamie all about it.

All was, I thought, forgotten until I laced my trainers up this evening in preparation for my comeback trot.

"Daddy, are you going to run very fast?" asked White Jnr.

"I'll be trying my best," I replied, "but I never run very fast - so no."

"Daddy, you should walk and not run very fast,"  said Jamie.  "Because then you'll not fall over and hurt yourself."

My first reaction was to feel touched and proud of my little boy.

My second was to think that he'd been telling his nursery pals his dad's a wimp. 

I'm not sure which instinct was correct, but I've decided to stick solely with conclusion one.   

NB: Should you wish to sponsor me (and Wee John) for the Great North Run, I'd heartily encourage you to do so. You can find out why we're doing it and how you can cough up by clicking here.    

Taking curtains to a new dimension

Jamie adored his new Toy Story curtains, lovingly made for him by his granny back in Portstewart (for all you golf fans out there, it's just a three wood and a seven iron from Portrush). 

So much so that he then demanded to see them in 3D.

Such a modern child.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Lies, lies and more lies

Jamie did his little person bit for charity today by taking part in his play group's end-of-term sponsored "Run and Sing."

And he and his teeny pals did exactly what it said on the, er, sponsor sheet. 

First they were tasked with running around the bandstand ten times.  Which - dressed in his navy windcheater - Jamie did eventually manage. 

At least his first lap went well.

And then everyone sang in celebration at their individual achievements.  

Our boy raised a total of £10 for the two designated charities - a pound for every lap completed.

As I say, eventually. 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Just when you thought you'd seen it all

We do live in incredibly bizarre times. 

Everyone in our once great country appears to have had their phone hacked.

We may have no police officers and no newspapers by the end of the week.

Northern Ireland is the new global capital of golf.

And then, tonight, I looked out my front window - and saw two horses moseying past our front garden.

Tomorrow, I predict the arrival of aliens, probably in Wales.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Do It Yourself? I think not

You join me as I sit in front of the telly cheering on Darren Clarke in his quest to continue Northern Ireland's global domination of golf.  I've nothing left to cross.

But don't be fooled by my sittingdownness.  

The good thing about moving house is that you get a new house. 

The bad thing is that you have to do things when you get there.

Yesterday, stepdad-in-law Mike and I installed a loft ladder. 

OK, not quite true. 

Stepdad-in-law Mike installed a loft ladder.

I held his big hammer. 

But I was on my feet throughout.

I just never stop these days.   

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

She must have waxed

"It looks as if it was put in by an Indian," were the characteristically non-PC words of the Duke of Edinburgh in 1999 after inspecting a fuse box he wasn't hugely impressed by.

And the train sink and soap tray in our shower room were either put in by a woman or commissioned by one. 

I mean, how the hell are you supposed to wash or shave in that?

Wearing wellies, that's how.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

You can take the girl(s) out of Yorkshire...

I wouldn't say that Charlotte is feeling bitter towards her mummy as a result of harsh treatment received in recent nights.

But the signs are there.

Monday, 11 July 2011

They look so normal

Night two of ferberization (look it up), and let's just say it didn't go as well as night one.

After taking an eternity to go to sleep in the first place, Charlotte woke up at 1.30am.  And, save for a couple of mini-lulls, that was about it. 

As a result, I think the foundations of our house have moved at least three feet.

We (including Charlotte) all did get to sleep for a few minutes at around 4.30 - before a neighbour's fire alarm woke us all again. You really couldn't make it up.

At least Jamie did provide a bit of light relief.  It was goodness knows what time and Vanessa, for the umpteenth time, was going in to gently suggest to our daughter to shut the **** up.

But, as she walked through our door, she found Jamie standing blank-faced on the landing.  So Vanessa stared back blank/knackered-faced.

Jamie looked her up and down and, in hushed tones, uttered: "Rabbits," before hopping back to his pit. 

I can't remember my life being so bizarre than at the present time. 

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Never run too far ahead of yourself

Last night's first installment of Operation Tough Love (i.e. teach Charlotte some sleep manners by letting her cry rather than be mollycoddled) went much better than expected.

In fact, she even went for an afternoon doze in her cot - an almost unheard of event - as a prelude.  And when darkness came, she did reasonably well for a beginner.

Yes, she stirred many times but, with the exception of an hour from 4-5am when I did worry about what the new neighbours might think, she generally stuck to the task.  Let's see what tonight brings.

Feeling upbeat about all of this, I went out for a run first thing this morning to "celebrate" - and promptly fell over a drain pipe. Dignified it was not.

After dusting myself down, I limped home in just a little bit of a mess.

This was my left hand.   

Enjoy your Sunday lunch.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

No ball games allowed

You join me in Tumble Town, an indoor adventure play barn type thing located a mere three minutes walk from our new house in Guiseley.

I’m surrounded by numerous noisy toddlers and an equivalent number of knackered looking mums and dads. And Jamie is having a wonderful time.

But it’s a far cry from where I was expecting to be at the present moment, namely Old Trafford and the fifth cricket one-day international between England and Sri Lanka.

We Whites were due in Manchester at 10am, me heading off to join my pal Ed in the beer queue, with Vanessa and the kids hooking up with Ed’s wife Jane and their three children for a day of fun and cakes.

Sadly, Charlotte failed to follow the script.

Sleep wasn’t on her agenda last night and was therefore was off limits to the rest of us.

It was the third such night in a row.

The long and the short of this was that the early morning drive to Manchester became neither practical nor wise.

And instead, Vanessa and I have committed ourselves to what is likely to be at least a week of systematic cruelty – or “controlled crying,” as it’s described in “The Book” – with accompanying sleep drought.

To coin a well-worn Coleraine phrase, “is it any wonder I take drink?”

(Answer: No).

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Them's hailstones, them are

I declared at the beginning of the week that our summer was over and winter was on its way.

You may have thought I was exaggerating (me?!) and even being a touch negative.

And if you did, I'm afraid you were wrong. 

Because above you can see what fell on our garden earlier this evening.

That's right, hailstones; huge lumps of cold, hard ice. 

Apology accepted. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The impertinence of youth

I've never been so offended!

Conscious of the fact that I had no beer in (I know), I popped into Morrisons on the way home tonight to rectify what was undoubtedly a crisis situation. 

I quickly grabbed some (pint) cans, headed to the self-service tills and put my purchases through.  However, given that I was buying alcohol, I had to wait for the man to come along to confirm I was a fully grown adult. 

But get this.

He took one look at me, smirked and announced in a loud voice: "Ah, you've got loads of grey hair - no problem there!"

How dare he, a young whipper snapper, talk to me in such a way?!

He couldn't have been a day over 37.      

Another summer goes up in smoke

The weather outlook suggests that, after three days of sunshine, the Yorkshire summer is over for another year.

And with the nights already getting shorter, it will soon be time to dig out the jumpers and prepare for a long, cold, harsh winter.

At least Jamie and I had the foresight on Saturday to road test our brand new barbecue, given to us by Wee John as a housewarming present (more expensive models were available).

Whether we really needed to fire it up to burn a mere half dozen sausages was debatable - and therefore debated - at the time.

But, with summer now officially at an end, I am pleased we put it to use. 

Hopefully we'll get a chance to use it again in 2012.

Or maybe 2013.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Milk on a Monday

The most quaint thing that's happened since arriving in Guiseley has been the visit of a local milkman asking if we wanted to be in his gang. 

I didn't realise milkmen still existed, if truth be told.  (Not that I thought they were all dead, just not delivering milk). 

But exist they do.

And our milkman's visit to our doorstep every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning has added a whole new dimension to Jamie's existence. 

Indeed, only Father Christmas now comes higher on his list of favourite people than Mr Milk.

If only I could persuade our hero to stop off at the paper shop on the way round to ours. 

And maybe give our windows a lick with a chamois.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

No, you Do It Yourself

What have you got lined up for this weekend?


Well, I've got to turn the random pieces of plastic and woodenness you can see above into a high chair.

An that's not all. Hell no.

Because when I'm finished that, I'm due to have a go at transforming the contents of this large box into a computer desk "in just 17 easy-to-follow steps."

Not a f***ing chance.