Sunday, 29 April 2012

What a woman

A horrible day outside, Vanessa decided to empower the kids by allowing them to take the lead in making some Rice Krispie buns.

Against the odds, Jamie adopted a professional approach, concentrating on the task in hand. 

Charlotte, meanwhile, simply concentrated on trying to get as much chocolate into her mouth as physically possible. 

She is female after all.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Standing Up For The Ulstermen

Tonight the Ulster rugby team reached the final of the Heineken (European) Cup. 

Many of us were very proud. 

Indeed, many more than you might think.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Wise Barry

After 40 years of being something of an idiot, yesterday, I finally demonstrated a flash of wisdom.

I was standing in a busy Leeds city centre street having an involved conversation on my two-month-old iPhone 4S. As I said my goodbyes, I sensed someone hovering at my side. 

Upon finishing the call, what I can only describe as an early-teens-rat-urchin-cum-chav asked if he could borrow my phone.

"Why?" I enquired.

"I need to text my mother," he said, a little coldly.

For a split second, I moved to pass it over - before stopping myself.

"No," I replied.

"Why do you mean, no?!" he barked.

"Because I'm about to use it again," I said.

"F*** off!" shouted Ratboy, before adding, charmingly, "f*** you!"   

Not that along ago, I would certainly have handed him my phone - and now I wouldn't have one (although I might have given better chase back then).

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I knew there was something

I tried to be a hero tonight.  But I made a fatal error.

Leeds train station was flooded, stranding Vanessa and leaving me to collect the kids from nursery, supper them up and bundle them off to bed.

But, foolishly, I decided to be ambitious; I would also give them a bath. 

To be fair, they have a bath most nights.  The difference is that both Vanessa and I are normally here, allowing each of us to be nominated a single sprog.  It gets more difficult when you have two (a very good reason why Vanessa and I will never have three, if you follow).

So, I got them home, stripped them down, put them in, found their night attire and prepared their rooms.

However, just as their curtains were being pulled and their bedside lights switched on, Charlotte took umbrage.  She normally enjoys her bath, but tonight she was having none of it (probably because her mummy wasn't there).  So I dragged her out.

A couple of minutes later, as I was getting Charlotte dressed, Jamie arrived in her room (he can get himself out of the tub now).  And, once his sister was ready, I got him sorted too.

It was only about 20 minutes later, when both were downstairs having their milk, that I realised I had neglected a vital element of the bathing process.

I had forgotten to actually wash them.

Vanessa will be back in charge tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A funny wee moment

A memorable little cameo on my train ride home from work last Friday. 

The carriage was a bit on the busy side so I had to settle for one of those "premium" seats directly opposite the toilet door.

After a short while, an animated conductor arrived to punch my ticket. 

"I see he's still in there," he said to me.

"Sorry?" I replied with what I hoped was a friendly tone.

"He's been in that toilet for ages," said the conductor, pointing at the illuminated "engaged" sign on the door.  "Sometimes I wonder what they do in there." 

I resisted the open goal opportunity to respond to that one, and returned to my paper as he shuffled off.

But, a couple of minutes later, he was back - and this time he meant business by proceeding to bang on the toilet door.

"You've been in there long enough!" shouted the conductor.  "You've got one more minute and then I'm coming in!"

"Do you think he's trying to avoid paying for a ticket?" I asked, trying to empathise with Robo-Conductor.

"He might be," he replied, "but I'm not really that bothered."

"Oh," I said enquiringly, "and why not?"

"Because I need a piss." 

Exactly a minute later, and the toilet door swung open after our hero proudly produced his "special key."

There was no-one in there.

Monday, 23 April 2012


I try to make this a relatively "family friendly" site but don't always succeed.

Tonight is one such occasion so, if you're easily offended or don't like to laugh, look away now...................

Right, for those of you that remain, this is great. 

Wee John was up this weekend visiting his most enthusiastic fans (Clue #1 they're small;  Clue #2 they look like Vanessa).  

As ever, we had many silly discussions.  But by far the most amusing surrounded a new product on the market called "Veet for Men" (available in 200 ml tubes). 

If you haven't heard of it - I certainly hadn't - and according to its makers, "Veet for Men" is "a quick and effective way to remove body hair leaving your skin feeling smoother for up to twice as long as shaving."  

But whatever you do, don't put it on your ballbag. 

If you don't believe me, read this review on the Amazon website:

"I like the clean shaven look down in my gentleman's log cabin, so for the past few years I've used a shaver. However the hair keeps growing back which means every 6 months I have to spend 20 minutes trimming again. As I'm sure you've realise this is valuable time I cannot waste. So I decided to get to the root of the problem and purchased this product.

"Probably the first thing you will notice after using this product is the pain. Although as a man I lack the required experience, I'm going to estimate that using this product is at least eleven times more painful than childbirth.

"Imagine sticking a rusty razor blade into your favourite eye, before tying your hands behind your back. Then imagine that you use the entrenched razor blade to slice open a raw onion. All the while being butt naked. This product is slightly more painful than that.

"However if we ignore the blinding, crippling and debilitating pain I should point out that this product is remarkably effective. Before, all manner of organisms great and small lived down there, now nothing can grow; not even on a cellular level. Sadly this includes my genitalia; I've spent the last four hours staring fixedly at Carol Vorderman's arse, all to no avail. My tinkywinkleton hasn't even so much as perked up, so if my review seems a bit harsh, it's only because I wanted children.

"All in all an effective and reasonably priced product - 3 Stars."

 If you thought that was funny, please read this, also on Amazon:
"Being a loose cannon who does not play by the rules the first thing I did was ignore the warning and smear this all over my knob and bollocks. The bollocks I knew and loved are gone now. In their place is a maroon coloured bag of agony which sends stabs of pain up my body every time it grazes against my thigh or an article of clothing. I am suffering so that you don't have to. Heed my lesson. DO NOT PUT ON KNOB AND BOLLOCKS.

"I am giving this product a 5 because despite the fact that I think my bollocks might fall off, they are now completely hairless."  

Like most people, I don't always find it easy to laugh on a Monday. But tonight I might cry myself to sleep.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Poor header

It's now two weeks since I went to see a stand-in dentist with a polite request for her to sort out my wonky front crown. She refused.  Still hate her. 

However, today is the day that the nice receptionist told me to come back to see my regular dentist (who, as it happens, put the crown in wrongly in the first place.  Heartening stuff.)

But now I have an additional problem.  I was cooking dinner on Sunday evening and was a touch bored.  So I kind of headbutted the dining room door. 

It wasn't a big headbutt and I still can quite recall why I did it.  I thought I was being amusing, I remember that, and was attempting to illustrate some no doubt "hilarious" point.  But the exact nature of said "hilarious" point continues to escape me. 

The problem is, as soon as my head connected with the door, I felt a sharp pain in my one of my remaining teeth.  And, three and a half days later, a dull ache - I think they call it "toothache"in the trade - continues to linger. 

Given that I'm going to be in the dentist's chair in less than two hours, I think it best to mention it.  But I might leave out the preamble. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

No cold comfort

I love my children, never more so than when they look like they are above - i.e asleep.

Tonight, Vanessa is in London and I've been in sole charge.  And sleeping has not been on the agenda for either him or her.  I'm too nice, that's what I am.  And weak.  And occasionally really rather stupid.

Meanwhile, I've been out to heat up our fridge. 

To explain, just prior to Christmas, I "revealed" that the fridge in our garage (otherwise known as my beer fridge) had packed up.

A bit of research led me to discover that the cold weather had been responsible for the malfunction.  And that for a fridge to work properly, the near surrounds have to be rather warm. 

I decided not to worry about this over the winter months, but it's spring time now.  Plus, Morrisons has Häagen-Dazs on offer.

Tonight I bought two tubs and went into the garage with the aim of depositing them in the fridge (/freezer).  But, to my horror, the freezer section of our fridge(/freezer) wasn't doing what it should (i.e. freeze things).  So I was forced to improvise by sticking on a blow heater in an effort to encourage the fridge(/freezer) to get down (in temperature).

It didn't work out.

I'm very glad that the Häagen-Dazs (at Morrisons) is currently so cheap.

Monday, 16 April 2012

One bad look deserves another

Those of you who have developed a filthy habit of wandering onto this blog on a semi-regular basis will be aware that Mrs W and I often like to dress our kids up to look ridiculous.

And it is important to underline that it is not just me. 

To illustrate, only yesterday I walked into the kitchen to find that Vanessa - for no reason other than she a teeny bit bored - had transformed Charlotte into a fat bloke.   

Clearly I will now have to outdo her.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Alternative perspectives

"There's no point in rushing things," is a well-worn Ulster phrase, and I could not agree more.

Take unpacking after moving house, for example.  We Whites moved house last June.  And I do not see it as particularly noteworthy that I only unpacked my last suitcase on Wednesday.

Vanessa, meanwhile, would see the world somewhat differently.  She likes to "get things done."

And to demonstrate, no sooner was my suitcase unpacked than she had purchased a canvas clothes-holder thingy to fill the gap vacated by my suitcase (and a huge pile of clothes).

Given a bit of time -  a few months at least - I might even have attempted to assemble it myself. 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

I'm back - as others bid farewell

Apologies to anyone who happened to notice that I haven't updated this guff for a few days.  I've been a physical wreck for the past three weeks or so and have struggled to muster either the energy or enthusiasm to do very much.  Not sure why, but there you go. 

That said, a trip to Tumble Town in Guiseley with him and her first thing this morning has invigorated me somewhat, so here I am again.  I hope I find you well. 

Unfortunately, it is a bit of a sad day today as our friends Graham and Hayley and their kids Cleve and Nell - who visited our humble abode last weekend - are due to return to Australia at around 10 o'clock tonight.   I would much prefer it if they remained in their native land, but that's only me being selfish.

Anyway, I can't let them go without showing you one of my all-time favourite photos.  Graham is Paul Weller's number one fan.  He loves the bloke.  For him, the Modfather is the Godfather of all. 

A few years ago, a very young Graham got to meet his hero.   And, save for a brief period, he has carried a picture capturing that special moment around with him. 

When we went out for a few pints last Sunday evening, I asked to see his most prized possession one more time.  And Graham was only too happy to oblige.

You want a closer look?  Well, OK, saying it's you.

Let's hope it's not too long before Graham and family are back amongst us once again.

Safe home, my friend.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Now THAT'S magic!

Another group of willing volunteers came to ours yesterday to sample one of my famous over-cooked roasts.  I will get it right one day.

Afterwards we were treated to an gymnastic display from Yorkshire-born, Aussie-bred Cleve.

He is here for a few days with his sister Nell - on her first visit to the UK - and parents Graham and Hayley, our very good friends, who emigrated to Brisbane in 2005. 

Like his son, Graham is a particularly talented boy.  For example, as well as being the best writer I've ever had the pleasure to work with, he's very good at hide and seek.

Nope, I have no idea where he is. 

He also does magic.  And to prove it, he let me film a very short trick.

No smoke, mirrors or graphic distortion techniques were used in the making of this video.  Honest.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Saturday, 7 April 2012

40th Birthday - Part III

And so it came to pass, that the afternoon became the evening - and it was time to party.

In something of a treat for the boys, Vanessa's sister and fellow 40th birthday celebrator Hannah got her bangers out.  That's her third from the right.

Dagenham Dave is a huge fan of Hannah's bangers and wasn't afraid to show it.  That said, he is married to her and may have been under instruction.

Whilst we waited for the "set" (i.e. floor) to be cleared, Wee John impressed his younger followers by downing a whole thimble of shandy in one go.  What a guy.

Finally, the inevitable could be delayed no longer.  Yes folks, it was time for the karaoke.

In the genuine highlight of the night for me, proceedings were led off by my good friend Graham Readfearn - all the way from Brisbane. He sang One by U2, only the second time he has sung this song in public.  The first performance was in The Grove church in Horsforth in 2005 whilst Vanessa and I signed the wedding register.  More on Graham next week.

Surgically removed from her scarlet tights, Hannah then resumed centre stage alongside little sis Vanessa to murder one of my all-time favourite songs.  I'll not even tell you what it was as I want to put the whole experience behind me and move on.

They were followed by their dad, TV's very own Geoff Druett, who displayed the latest addition to his bottomless box of skills.  I can only accurately describe his performance as "original" as I've certainly never seen anything like it.

And bringing up the rear - fittingly - was the arse that is Wee John with a wee gay number.  And that was almost that.

There was still an opportunity for a carnivorous Sunday lunch to be over-cooked (by me) the following day for special guests Wee John, Charlie and Wee John's flatmate Shane.  Rather than rest his head at ours, Shane had been staying at a nearby hotel in the hope of a bit of man love.

Food guzzled, and a final cuddle with the kids... was time for the off. Charlie even had his own wave-off committee.

Sincere thanks to everyone involved for their kindness and generosity.  It was hugely appreciated by an increasingly old man.

Friday, 6 April 2012

40th Birthday - Part II

I mentioned in my previous post that Wee John's brother, Charlie, joined last weekend's 40th birthday commiserations.  As you can see above, you'd barely know they were related. 

It was actually Charlie who bears sole responsibility for there being a get together in the first place.  Charlie lives in Oslo, you see (apparently it's somewhere near Norway).   And when I told him last year that I wasn't intending to make a special effort to mark my four decades on Planet Earth, he said he was flying to Yorkshire that weekend come what may.

"And you'd better ****ing make it worth my ****ing while," he added. 

Charlie's a poet by trade.

40th Birthday - Part I

On the left you can see an "image" of me.

It was once a simple, gormless picture of a simple, gormless me.  But then Wee John got at it. 

And whilst I may be both simple and gormless, I am not yet bald.  (I repeat, yet). 

This simple fact did not stop Wee John taking it upon himself to arrange for something like a dozen tee-shirts to be made, each one bearing this "image," to mark my 40th birthday.

All sorts were seen wearing them over the course of the big day and evening.

For example, all self-respecting football fans will remember ex-Premier League striker Dean Windass.

Here he is during his Middlesbrough days.

And here he is again, last Saturday, accepting his Bald Barry tee-shirt from Wee John and his brother Charlie (aka Uncle Pig).

Words fail me now, just as much as they failed me when Wee John first showed me the picture.   So I'll leave it there.

I'd love to poke her (but not in that way)

Good Friday my ar*e.

After a magnificent weekend seven days ago, the past week has been less than good. 

And today, Jamie - who hasn't been great for the past couple of nights in any case - woke up looking and feeling like me (other than his blonde hair.  And blue eyes. Plus he's much smaller than me, but you get the picture).

So we're kind of housebound today.  Although, when I say "we," I mean "us boys" as Charlotte and Vanessa have gone off for some retail therapy. (If Mrs W uses the joint credit card, I'll kill her).

Today's false start to the Bank Holiday weekend comes off the back of a uniquely irritating experience yesterday which I still can't quite believe.

Succinctly, my front crown came loose again so I phoned up to book an appointment to have it welded back in. 

My own dentist was on leave so, when I walked in, I was "greeted" by a rotund, po-faced foreign woman, dressed in purple, wearing blue contact lenses and sporting a harsh, bobbed haircut reminiscent of Johnny Depp in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.   

I explained my situation and said it would be very kind if she could do the necessary.

She had a poke (it was probably a long time since the last one).

"It's not loose," she grunted, Jabba The Hut-style.

"It is, look," I replied, flapping my pretend tooth.

"You'll have to come back and see your own dentist," she hissed.

"After it's come out?!" I said, raising my tone. "But you're sitting there now with a drill and a bag of cement and a poking implement - can't you just sort it out now?"

"No," she replied, facial expression unwilling/unable to change (and not because she'd had a facelift, I assure you).

What followed was a 20 second monologue from me which left her in no doubt whatsoever about how unprofessional, disgraceful and sh*t she actually was - although I didn't say sh*t.  Oh, and I told her she should be ashamed of herself.  Which she should.  Bitch.  (I didn't call her that either.  Sometimes I really am too nice).

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Yorkshire Spring

Right, I will reflect back on my birthday weekend in an increasingly short space of time, but my hangover has now been replaced by potentially fatal man flu.

OK, maybe I'll survive, but energy/enthusiasm/life expectancy is currently not high.  Plus, Jamie and Charlotte are also under the weather and, much more seriously, restricting me (and Vanessa, granted) to about three hours sleep a night. 

Talking of the weather, above you can see our milk bottles first thing this morning.

And below was the view from Charlotte's room. 

The Easter barbecue plans have been shelved. 

Monday, 2 April 2012

Anyone would think I liked a drink

Here you see a selection of the very kind gifts some very nice people gave me for my 40th birthday on Saturday.

And, if you look carefully, you might just be able to spot something of a theme.

Over the next couple of days, I'll tell and show you a little bit of what everyone got up to on what was a particularly memorable day and night (the bits that I can remember, that is). 

But, for now, my efforts must remain focused on trying to deal with the biggest hangover in history. 

Your thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated.