Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Barry

As we prepare for the end of 2012 in just a few hours' time, one of my resolutions must be to act my age just a little bit more.

To underline the need for this, a few minutes ago I discovered a junk folder in my new gmail account which I set up last month. 

And in said junk folder I found an email relating to an online petition I signed during a moment of boredom, a copy of which you can see below.

Whether or not you choose to sign the petition is clearly a matter for you.

Much more important is the need for you and yours to have a fun and safe night tonight, followed by a 2013 to remember for only the most positive of reasons.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: iPetitions Signature>

Date: Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 7:43 PM
Subject: About your "We want William & Kate to name their first child Barry" petition signature

Dear Barry White,

Thank you for signing the "We want William & Kate to name their first child Barry" petition at

Your signature is valuable and makes a real difference.

Please encourage others to sign the petition as well. 

Forward the text below to everyone who might be interested:


I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:

"We want William & Kate to name their first child Barry."

I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes just a few seconds of your time.


Sunday, 30 December 2012

From Ukraine - but no love

As the family Christmas chef, I've been nothing if not consistent.

After my steak and kidney disaster on Christmas Eve, and my successive turkey-related failures on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, tonight I tried to take the mountain to Mohammad by cooking the kids homemade chicken kiev and chips. 

The chips went down well.  This was not a surprise

The chicken kievs did not.  This was not a surprise.     

Friday, 28 December 2012

Jingle balls

OK, so now it's time to briefly touch on my Christmas balls-ups. 

We begin on Christmas Eve when, for the past few years, I've been trying to establish a tradition of me cooking "Daddy's Special Christmas Eve Tea Which Everybody Loves."   And, once again, it didn't go down well. 

The clues were there in the beginning when I almost burnt off the end of my finger with hot fat whilst singing along to Alan Simpson's equally hot tracks on BBC Radio Ulster. 

But the real failing was in my choice of dish - homemade steak and kidney pie - which, thinking about it, is not really a huge favourite of kiddiewinks.  So we'll have to do another revamp for Christmas 2013, possibly involving a greater degree of family democracy and maybe even including a family meeting.  We'll see.

Fast-forwarding to Christmas lunch, when I committed that age old cardinal sin of leaving the giblet bag inside the turkey.  And it was because of total incompetence rather than absentmindedness. 

I'd had a good rummage inside Tyrone the Turkey early on Christmas morning and found his neck inside.  Nice.  (To be fair, judging by his build, I did think he used to be taller).   But there was no sign of any plastic bag. So I carried on. 

What I didn't realise until I started carving Tyrone up was that some nice butcher man had in fact lodged his giblets where his discarded neck used to be, as helpfully indicated by a star below.

When the giblet bag did then fall out, I'll be honest with you, I said a bad word.  I also had an immediate decision to make, namely, did I tell Vanessa?  I made a quick inspection of the bag to find that it appeared to be fully in tact.  This was a shock, albeit a pleasant one.  I also checked Tyrone for signs of melted plastic and found none.  My decision was made - I was saying nothing, through a now worried grin, although I have since confessed 

There are therefore two new pieces of information to be gleaned from this episode:
  1. Best check your turkey's neck for giblets; and
  2. Marks & Spencer's turkey giblets come in bomb-proof, unmeltable bags.  
Before, during and after this little saga, I had been drinking "consistently."  Poisons included Buck's Fizz, white wine and Guinness.

Then we all headed off to a wider family gathering less than five minutes' walk from our house, where I moved on to more Guinness, red wine and Dagenham Dave's Seasonal Mulled Wine.  I got a lift home. 

The consequences of my over-exuberance were particularly catastrophic as, the following morning, I was forced to crawl out of bed, put on my shorts and set off on a seven-mile race to the top of the humongous Otley Chevin and back. 

The event was won by World Triathlon Champion and Olympic Triathlon Bronze Medallist Jonny Brownlee who managed to pip me to the tape by just over half an hour. 

However, much closer to him than he was to me was my old Coleraine mate Paul Gaile who ran in a Santa suit.

Looking back, I'm glad I did the run but not the drinking.

UPDATE: Sorry, pointed out to me - I also forgot to cook the pigs in blankets and the stuffing on Christmas Day. Still, my neglect gave the kids even more to leave on their plates come Boxing Day.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

So that was Christmas

I'm sure I've not been alone in having had a hectic few days - hence no blog updates.  (What do you mean you didn't notice?) 

But, in short and other than a couple minor blips which I'll come on to next time, all went surprisingly well.

We began on Christmas Eve by dressing the kids up to take part in a local nativity.

Tee hee.  Before a "special" tea which didn't work out (next time), a quick nip outside to prepare Rudolph's landing spot, then bed.

On Christmas morning, it was downstairs to make the miraculous discovery that Jamie and Charlotte had been "good" after all (in Santa's eyes).

Tyrone the Turkey didn't let me down (even if I kind of let him down - next time)...

...and some crap jokes, one of which included Jimmy Savile in the punchline.

These things happen when you're a Yorkshire tight-arse, buy your Christmas crackers in the sale and keep them in the loft for a year.  Vanessa.

But it has been a festive period to remember (other than the period of hours that I can't quite recall - next time).

Needless to say I hope you had fun too. 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Tyrone update

I carefully extracted Tyrone the Turkey from his garage fridge resting place last night and put him in our kitchen fridge which is a little warmer. It was the least I could do.

However, with the big shop now done, he's back in the garage and - it's just a sense I get - feeling a touch sad.

The good news is that he'll have just one night out there; the less good news is that he's scheduled to spend his final evening lying in state on our kitchen worktop to bring him up to room temperature. (For that he should blame Delia, not me).

Even worse, today's purchases included a packet of sage and onion stuffing with added lemon.

I'll keep you informed on developments as the countdown continues.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Tyrone comes to Yorkshire

Meet Tyrone.  He is, well, was a turkey.  And he grew up in Northern Ireland.

As his packaging proudly declares, Tyrone described himself as a British turkey, highlighting the fact that the pro-Union flow from Northern Ireland to Great Britain now extends much further than students, young professionals and contestants on The Apprentice. 

I am genuinely sorry that Tyrone isn't here "in mind" to savour what I have in store for him on Christmas Day.  (Thinking about it, his mind is probably lying in a bucket somewhere near Ballymena).  But I will seek to give him a good send off in 72 hours' time.

Coincidentally, Tyrone is not the only individual in our house who has lost their mind. 

This is what Vanessa has just served up for the kids' tea.

I'll get her another drink in a second.  Not that she needs it.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Taking the Michael

You've probably read or seen on TV that David Cameron has been in Afghanistan visiting British troops. 

Whilst there, the Prime Minister had the good fortune to bump into my friend and fellow Coleraine man Michael Currie. A former soldier himself, Michael is currently in Helmand working as a close protection officer. 

If ever a photo negated the need for further words, then surely this is it.

Merry Christmas to all our troops - and close protection officers.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Whose birthday is it anyway?

Charlotte took a bit of warming-up for her mini birthday get-together yesterday evening.

But Jamie had no such problems.

In fact, I can't remember him being so excited even on his own big day.

But eventually his sheer enthusiasm...

...and gentle cajoling...

...did the trick.

Just in time for Christmas.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Woo hoo - Charlotte is two

Charlotte is two years old today.  Awwwwww.
We had her "main" party on Saturday when her daddy had more time to drink.  But we will have another mini get-together for her mini-self before bed tonight. 
We'll probably sing Happy Birthday again, although we'll do well to beat this rendition.
Are her mother and I proud of our little girl?  Of course we are.  But let's hope she doesn't grow up with a mouth as big as her brother's.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Cheese balls

It's a big day in the White household tomorrow but more on that, well, tomorrow.

Meanwhile, today's Daddy Task was to do exactly what it said on Jamie's Tupperware box in preparation for his class Christmas party. 

And didn't they look nice? 

No?  You're right - they didn't. And they weren't.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Jesus comes to Guiseley

Today was the second of Jamie's two-day run treading the boards in Guiseley Infant School's nativity play.

And, in his role as one of several Standing Shepherds, our boy done good. He sang all the words, stood up straight and didn't wee on his sandals. Vanessa and I could not have been more proud.

But there were two disappointing developments.

First, his granny didn't make it after all - her knee, bum and pride all falling victim to the black ice on our road first thing this morning. Thankfully, all of these can - and, indeed, have already been - healed by Yorkshire fish and chips.

And second, cameras were not allowed so I can't show you what he looked like until we've bought an official pic.

So, instead, here's a photo of Jesus.

Happy birthday to Him for the 25th.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

It's him again (no, not Derek)

Jamie and Charlotte had some alternative faces to look at last night as my mum and husband Derek rocked up for a long weekend. 

And then an even older face arrived outside the door (yes, even older than Derek's).   

That's right, Father Christmas was back for his annual evening tour of the Silverdale estate to raise funds for Guiseley Lions.

Charlotte looked almost as bemused as last year.

Meanwhile, did his best (and not in the least bit convincing) angel boy impression.

Rumour has it that Santa and Jamie are destined to come face to face at least twice more in the coming days.  I am beginning to fear that the big man's sack will be worn out by Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

I am not a bucket

After the weekend indignity of being vomited on by Charlotte, tonight Jamie came home from school - and vomited on me. 


I wasn't so well myself overnight, although didn't barf, and have felt rough all day.  Even I can work out that these three family health incidents are likely to be connected.

But help will soon be at hand because my mother arrives tomorrow, and she used to be a nurse.

There's still some sick on the floor which hopefully she'll be good enough to clean up too.

UPDATE 2015: Jamie has just been sick over me again. And this time it really was all over me. I've can't ever remember wanting to swear as much as this, ever. Poor me, er, Jamie.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Santa Maybe

Another one of those landmark moments on Saturday, when we took Jamie and Charlotte on their first joint visit to see Santa.

As luck would have it, he was making a special guest appearance at Jamie's school Christmas fair.  And, whilst I would've preferred the wine instead of the candle I won at the tombola, much fun was had.  

The most memorable moment came when Santa told Jamie he was the proud owner of a sonic screwdriver after being given one by Doctor Who (don't be rude) more than 200 years ago.  This was a surprise to me never mind Jamie because, on first glance, I didn't believe our Father Christmas looked a day over 150.  He must groom.

I must also tell you about a random little ditty from yesterday morning.  My dopey brother-in-law Dagenham Dave was busy so I was charged with looking after Jamie's cousin Oliver as well as Jamie at micro rugby. 

But Master White couldn't quite get his head around this arrangement.  Following the training session and before the hot dogs, Jamie could wait no longer for clarification. 

"Oliver?" he barked.  "Where is your owner?!" 

I am pleased to report that Hannah - his mother/joint owner - did appear shortly afterwards.  

Sunday, 9 December 2012

That's just sick

Charlotte was violently ill all over me last night.

As good a place as any, I suppose.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

There is an "I" in Christmas

I bought a light-up sign today which is now perched resplendent in our front window.

Acquired for a mere £2.99 at B&M Stores, I believe it is money very well spent.

Some of you may think it is a kindly act of a loving father. But it's not.

It's the work of a dreamy little boy trapped inside an ageing man's body.

Because I've been good this year too.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

My children think I'm Homer Simpson

Jamie was up early this morning and decided to pass the time before school with a bit of drawing, producing one for each of us. 

He drew Vanessa a house and Charlotte a fairy.  And I was the lucky recipient of a curiously life-like representation of me kicking a rugby ball between a set of rugby posts, which you can see below.  (Sadly this was a feat I never managed during my playing days, but kids are all about dreams).

And he had an added surprise for me because, on the other side, was a second drawing.

"That's very good Jamie!" I announced, bursting with pride.  "Er...what is it?" 

"It's beer, Daddy," he replied.  "I drew that on the other side so I knew it was yours."

Coming off the back of Charlotte's Guinness incident, this was a little disconcerting.  So I decided to defend myself - rather lamely, I have to admit.

"I don't even like beer!" I protested.

"Yes you do, Daddy," said Master W.  "You really, REALLY do!"

Hmmmm.  Perhaps I should turn this into a positive and ask him to get me some for Christmas.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

(Not) like a Rhinestone Cowboy

Since going to watch The Muppets in the cinema earlier this year (shurrup), I've become increasingly interested in all things 70s.  But I do accept that quite a lot about that decade was still a bit naff.
For example, I flicked over to music channel Vintage TV on Friday evening to find the Rhinestone Cowboy himself, Glen Campbell, sitting astride a horse.
If anything or anyone was "cool" in the 1970s, Glen Campbell would surely have been near the top of the list.  I was impressed.
As I kept watching the Rhinestone Cowboy video, the camera pulled away to reveal more of the horse.
Glen still looked cool.  Oh yeah. 

But then the camera pulled back further still and, oh dear.

Glen's "thoroughbred stallion" was shockingly revealed to be little more than a pumped-up Shetland pony.  In fact, if Mr C had stretched his legs, I reckon he would have been able to stand up.

Not cool.  And as I continue my research, I fear I may ultimately have to accept that nothing whatsoever about the 1970s actually was.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

In the black

I cooked Sunday dinner last night for all of the above, plus their parents. 

But I was chewing a little harder than usual. 

Before we ate, I watched BBC NI's coverage of the Ulster rugby team's latest victory, this time over Llanelli Scarlets.  And, naturally, I had a "number" of cans of Guinness. 

As I supped, Vanessa revealed that she and Charlotte had been in Morrisons the other day where Guinness is currently on offer (a fact I am very actively aware of).

As Charlotte was wheeled past a stack of the black stuff, she apparently shot up straight in her seat, pointed at the mountain of loveliness and yelled: "DADDY!!!! DADDY!!!!"

Hmmmm.  I am kind of proud, but I'm also a teeny, tiny bit appalled. 

Still, a few Guinness should quickly remove the guilt factor.

I mean, look at it.  

One star deserves another

Tomorrow marks the start of a big few days for Jamie after he was "finally" named Red Class "Star of the Week" on account of his good handwriting and being quiet at lunchtime.

I say "finally" as his failure to ascend to the throne until now has been something of a sore point for his mother. 

This has been less of an issue for me because, as as Ulsterman, I naturally tend to concentrate on his failings and weaknesses than his good points.  But in Vanessa's grumbling view, he's been an X Factor-style victim of the judges.  Her sense of victimhood has not been helped by the fact that he's "only" been cast as a shepherd in the forthcoming school Christmas production.

However, our boy's pride at his achievement is rightly sky high and, since he got it on Friday, he's even been wearing his much-coveted badge in bed.

Charlotte also knows something is up and wants to play her full part in the celebrations. Her joy reached its peak when Jamie's metal star was joined by a chocolate version - because she got one too.

She'll be hoping he wins his title back again soon.