Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Vanessa and I attended our first ever parents' evening last night when we visited Jamie's nursery to find "how he's getting on."

In between mouthfuls of fish pie - they invited us to choose sample dishes from his weekly menu, which was novel  - we were informed that he was regarded as something of a superhero inside them there walls.

This was something of a surprise given the time he spends behaving like an arch villain at home.   

His sister's reaction suggested she didn't believe a word of it either.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


World-renowned fish and chip seller Harry Ramsden opened his first ever shop, here in Guiseley, in 1928.

And for the last 83 years it has done Guiseley and the Harry Ramden's chain - now 35 branches strong - incredibly proud. 

But then the Whites moved in.

And today it was announced that the Guiseley restaurant (and only the Guiseley restaurant), which we have been to several times over the last six months and always enjoyed, is to close. 

I would like to believe the two events are entirely unconnected.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Someone else needs help

I wasn't planning to write anything tonight.

But that was before our next door neighbour fell out of his loft and I was scrambled to help carry his stretcher into the emergency ambulance. 

Vanessa's first question as I returned home more than a little unnerved by what I'd seen?

"What colour was their kitchen?"  

I'm appalled.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Early release for good behaviour? Dunno yet

Day one of Operation Don't Kill The Kids (Vanessa's away for the weekend) must be judged a success on the simple basis that both are still with me.

But some drastic action was nonetheless required to achieve this end.

That's right, I put them in baby jail.

Harsh?  Maybe.

Did it make life easier for me?  Absolutely.  But surely that's what their mother would've wanted.

Friday, 25 November 2011

I might get trollied

I have potentially the most testing weekend of my life coming up.

Because early tomorrow Vanessa leaves for two full days shopping in that London, arriving back at around 8.30 on Sunday evening. 

This will leave me in sole charge of our sprogs.  And there's only so long I can keep them imprisoned in a shopping trolley. 

Am I terrified of what may lie ahead over the next almost 50 hours?

Is Jamie licking his lips at the look of terror which is already obvious in my eyes?

Is he going to try and take me for a ride?

Might Charlotte lose all of the little bit of love and respect for her daddy that I've tried so hard to build up over the last 11 months?

The answer to all of the above, I fear, is yes. 

Prayers said and candles lit would be very welcome indeed.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

He's a joker

The last two Thursdays (tonight being number two) haven't exactly worked out as planned. 

Casting our minds back to last week and the Children In Need Rocks Manchester concert, regular readers might remember that I didn't make it because Charlotte was taken ill.

No regrets there - she's me little girl and I was happy to be with her.  No, really.

So we fast forward to tonight and Stephen Merchant (he of The Office, Extras and Life's Too Short) doing stand-up in Bradford. 

Vanessa and I were dreaming of a long leisurely evening.  A bit of food, some drinks and a good old laugh at a gawky looking tall bloke. 

But, as it turned out, Charlotte wouldn't go down so Mrs W missed the warm-up act and it was a sandwich and no drink for her, BUT a KFC and five pints for me!

Swings and roundabouts, dera friends, swings and roundabouts.

And we both had a right chortle at yer man.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Four times a (sleepless) lady

Vanessa and I have seen a lot of Charlotte over the last 10 days, principally because she hasn't slept - so neither have we - for 10 days.

So you can imagine how "thrilled" I was to come home tonight to see her passport pictures staring up at me from the kitchen table.

The question now is, where shall we send her? 

All four of her.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

"Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree..."

We've lived in Guiseley for almost exactly five months now and, until tonight, I've found nothing not to like.

But then I noticed our "Christmas tree" whilst walking home from work.

It's not often I'm short on words but on this occasion I am.

So I'll keep it simple.

It's shit.  

Monday, 21 November 2011

Martin Johnson's big chopper

Above, guys and gals, you can see former England rugby manager Martin Johnson last Saturday afternoon.

And below you can see his helipad.

Well, I say helipad. It's actually Ilkley Rugby Club's first fifteen pitch.

On which landed Martin Johnson's helicopter.

It didn't have to come far, mind.

In fact, it travelled a total of 200 yards from Ilkley Cricket Club, literally just over the road, where it was parked.

"Johnno," as he's known to his chums, was in Ilkley to open the rugby club's impressive new £1.3 million clubhouse, for which - to his immense credit - he didn't take a fee. But he was more than happy to accept the offer of a lift.

And after having lunch, conducting the formalities and watching Ilkley defeat Scarborough in the Yorkshire league, it was time to bid farewell...

....climb back on-board...

....take to the air...

...and begin the journey home.

In contrast, my train was late and the bog was blocked.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Enough for Ewen him

We Whites went for Sunday lunch today with some good friends, including Ewen who you can see above.

It was a pub which had a very generous "two-for-one" deal on main courses.

But someone forgot to tell Ewen that the offer was not necessarily designed to encourage the eating of two meals by one person.

Still, his burger and chips and Italian chicken and chips did appear to go down well.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

That's just sick

I would imagine Charlotte was not the only Leeds lady to crawl out of bed this morning looking like what the average bear enjoys scratching on a tree.

Unfortunately her recuperation from bronchiolitis has been set back by the onset of a particularly horrific cold. 

But at least she doesn't have work to dread come Monday morning.

Yes, other than Calpol, there are definite positives about being 11 months old today.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Dog and cat terrorise Guiseley commuters shocker

This was the sight which greeted commuters at Guiseley railway station first thing this morning, and which led to me having to revisit the cash point before getting to work. 

Silly f*****s.

Still, all in a good cause. 

Happy Children In Need Day.

Cosy nights in rock too

The most bored amongst you might vaguely remember I was supposed to be in Manchester last night for the Children In Need Rocks concert.

But no. 

Sadly, Charlotte contracted bronchiolitis, was sent to hospital by her GP and I gave my ticket to Vanessa's sister Hannah so the two of them could go together whilst I literally held the baby.

And, yes, I was disappointed not to see Coldplay and Elbow and Snow Patrol and even Lady Gaga. 

But, hey, I did my daddy bit and feel warm for having done so.

Plus I didn't really miss the concert.

Because I was watching it with my girl.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Ready to rock. Kind of

This time tomorrow (it's approaching 9pm), I'll not be sitting here watching I'm A Celebrity (shame) writing this poo (let me remind you it's rude to cheer).

Instead, Mrs W and I will be sitting at the MEN Arena in Manchester watching Children In Need Rocks. 

If, unlike me, you don't read crappy papers, you'll not know what I'm talking about.  So, as my friend I'll tell you.

In short, it's a concert organised by Take That frontman/X Factor judge/ex-dullard fatboy Gary Barrow with all proceeds going to Children In Need (you probably worked the last bit out for yourself).

Those due to appear (other than ex-dullard fatboy) include Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Snow Patrol, Elbow, Michael Buble and others that are much younger than me so I'll not refer to them.  (Hugh Laurie, who's not much younger than me, is also due to warble but I regard him as that bloke from Blackadder/Fry and Laurie rather than a singer so he doesn't count).

Anyway, it should be good.

The good news is that it's being broadcast live on BBC1 from 8pm.

The bad news is that Vanessa and me are sitting so far back we're going to be lucky to see or hear anything of note.

So if anyone out there can text me during the performance to tell me how it's going, I'd be very grateful.

UPDATE: The BBC have confirmed that Cheryl Cole, who was booked to perform a duet with Gary Barlow, can't sing.  But why waste licence fee payers' money telling us something we already know?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Going Gaga

Last night I dreamt that my teeny tiny pal Wee John was going out with Lady Gaga. 

But then I woke up to discover he's not.

This is a real shame as I reckon she'd be just his type. 

More on Lady Gaga tomorrow.   

Monday, 14 November 2011

It's all about him

Whilst I will always selflessly try to support the personal dreams and aspirations of my children, I would still prefer Jamie to play rugby for Ireland than football for England.   As you would. (If you were a rugby fan. And from Ireland.  Just like me, now that I think about it).

So, last Saturday, I took my boy to watch his first ever game of rugby union when local team Aireborough took on Northallerton.  

And whilst he initially tried to put a brave face on it...

...and appear slightly interested....

...the pretence didn't last.

Maybe this weekend's game will be better 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

She near knocked her pan in

Last month I told you that Big Sean's sister Fiona was set to go to war with some other vacant mare in the name of charity.

The "White Collar Boxing" event (apparently "bitch fighting" isn't politically correct) took place last night and the excellent news is that "Smokin' Fi" was indeed victorious. 

My sister Gwen was kind enough to keep me informed from her ringside pew.

The best text simply advised that Fiona was "giving her death."

However, I'm very relieved to confirm that the "Portstewart Destroy Her" stopped short of actually killing her opponent . 

This is positive in lots of ways, including the fact that Big Sean - a policeman - did not have to lead his little sister away in handcuffs afterwards. 

So far Fiona's heroic efforts have raised almost £500 for Mencap.  But there's still time to give by clicking here.

And remind me not to spill her drink the next time I see her out.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Two sides of the same ballbag

This blog has been in receipt of a formal complaint - from no lesser figure than Wee John.  (And figures don't come much lesser than that).  

He phoned me up this evening to whine that "it's just not fair that you only ever put bad photos of me on there."   Aw, diddums.

So, above, you can see a "nice" pic of His Weeness. 

And below, just to balance things up, you can see what might be described as "a less glowing image." 

I've no idea who that is on his left.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

There's (not) room on her horse for two

A touching scene, as Charlotte shuffles up and makes room on her rocking horse for her big bro.

Little did she know that, seconds later, she'd be thrown off after Jamie giddied up. 

He is now in his room hoping not to hear from Claims Direct.

She'll soon be on the run

The life of a baby girl is filled with landmarks, not least the arrival of her first two teeth.  And above you can see Charlotte's new gnashers resplendent in her gob.

But the excitement does not end there - hell no.

Because only days after winning her badge for advanced crawling, I can offer you a short piece of footage which shows that it won't be long before she's told to get out of our shopping trolley and push it herself.  

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Turkey run

It is not uncommon for me to do silly things after a little bit too much wine. 

But one thing I try never to do in such situations is get my credit card out.  Sadly my determination to refrain is not always powerful enough. 

Previous moments of weakness have resulted in the purchase of flights and, in one particular moment of madness, tickets to an A-ha concert at Wembley Arena.  (It wasn't very good - no, really).

However, when I woke up on Monday morning, my sore head and dry mouth were suddenly the least of my worries. 

Thanks to the vocal encouragement of my good friend and fellow Coleraine man Paul Gaile (above left, bald as a coot), I entered the 2011 Chevin Chase - at a cost of £17.  

Let me tell you about this "fun" little event, and I quote:

"The Chevin Chase has enjoyed over 30 years of competitive and fun running.

"Entrants have included world champions alongside Xmas Trees and Santas!

"The run is approximately seven miles and is a winter race run in winter conditions.

"It is a hilly multi-terrain event which incorporates quiet country lanes, bridleways, rough tracks, paths, fields and stiles (and usually mud).

"However there are beautiful views at the top of Otley Chevin, for those who complete the gruelling climbs."

Oh, and it takes place on Boxing Morning.  

Remind me never to take drink.  (At least until the weekend).

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Old and older

Those of you with nothing better to do than read this pointless blog will be aware that Wee John's 40th birthday came and went the week before last. 

But we do like to drag these things out, particularly given the fact that my dad is due to celebrate his own very special landmark on 19 November when he turns 75.

So, on Sunday, we threw a joint party.

The kids ate first...

...then the adults...

....before we combined assembled forces... gorge down...

....two cakes between us.

Next up were some fireworks and Chinese lantern lighting...


...paper burning...

...and beer for children. 

See, Sundays can be fun.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Old Game Face

Another heavy weekend has come and gone - just like my dad, Wee John and Other John who were at the heart of it all.

Yesterday was a particular highlight, and I'll tell you about that tomorrow. 

But first, Saturday and our trip to Ewood Park for Blackburn Rovers v Chelsea.

Despite supporting his beloved Blues for exactly 103 years and seeing them play many times before, my dad had never, ever seen Chelsea win a game.

Until Saturday, that was.

Not that you would have known it.