Sunday, 29 July 2012

A quick break, for God's sake

After watching a mere 15 continuous hours of Olympic coverage yesterday, I thought it might be appropriate to leave the house today.

And, as good fortune dictated, we had been invited to deepest North Yorkshire to attend the christening of our friends Sarah and Tim's lovely little boy Joseph James. 

A fine occasion it was too.  Jamie particularly enjoyed the chips in the village hall afterwards.

As did Charlotte. 

But now I'm back home, I can already feel the Olympic pressure rebuilding. 

Is it to be archery, handball, beach volleyball, football, swimming or tennis first?

And, once I've made my choice, what will I watch next?

Thank goodness there's only two weeks of this stress left.  

Saturday, 28 July 2012

An Olympic experience

Taking the little boy to the Olympics is something I've looked forward to for months now, and there's no doubt that Wee John enjoyed his big night out at Old Trafford on Thursday (he's the one in the foreground wearing the dung-coloured tee shirt).

And so did I.  Indeed, it was as fun as it was surreal. 

Hearing the chants of "GB" took a bit of getting used to but, as time went on, it did feel like a proper football match (it had a real referee, corner flags - everything).

And beach balls, which are always a bonus. 

And at the end, the many ladies in the sell-out crowd had the chance for a close look at serial shagger/Team GB(&NI) skipper Ryan Giggs (who presumably was speaking in Welsh following his refusal to sing the national anthem).

John and I then found a Chinese restaurant which which was still serving food and drink at 2am - you can't rush these things.  

Yes, I could definitely get used to having the Olympics on my doorstep.  Shame it will never happen again.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Inside, he's (maybe) buzzing with Olympic excitement

Jamie tried on his special Olympic hat this morning and wasn't especially impressed. 

And his reaction to the news that our trip to that London is a mere seven sleeps away can best be described as "Northern."

And I quote: "I've seen London on TV and don't like it so I'm NOT GOING!"

To borrow a phrase from Twenty Twelve, that's all good.

Meanwhile, and unlike curmudgeonly BBC news reporters across the land, my Olympic enthusiasm cup is almost brimming over.

Later today Wee John and I are due to head across the Pennines to Old Trafford to watch Great Britain (& Northern Ireland)'s men take on Senegal in the Olympic football tournament.  And we're staying over afterwards, just to make sure we don't miss anything - such as the extended pub opening hours.

A full report and pictures will miraculously appear here tomorrow.  Alternatively, you can watch the match live on BBC1 or buy a newspaper first thing in the morning.  It's entirely up to you.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Going there - bought the tee shirts

Even the most avid Olympics hater will probably be aware that the first competitive action of the 2012 Games gets underway today with the women's football.

This is followed, tomorrow, by the men's football when Team GB (&NI) take their bow against Senegal at Old Trafford.

And Wee John and I will be there.  More on that next time.  

However, the Olympic highlight for us Whites (and honorary White Wee John, obviously) will come on Friday week when all but Charlotte (who is even smaller than Wee John and therefore "too wee") attend a day of the rowing finals at Eton Dorney. And, of course, you have to get into the spirit of these things.

So, people, above you can see the official Team GB (&NI) attire which will adorn the persons of Jamie and I when we arrive in that London.

And my personal commitment to our heroes in red, white and blue does not end there.  Hell no. 

Because I decided to go a step further.  

Ladies and gentlemen, just for you, I present my official Team GB (&NI) man pyjamas which I shall wear of an evening throughout the Games (occasionally washing on those days when it's windy enough to dry them before bedtime).      

Rule Britannia (and Northern Ireland).

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A sign of the times

I appreciate that we're living in an age of extreme weather and seemingly endless natural disasters, but a landslide in Guiseley? 

That's just silly - and a teeny bit inconvenient. 

Does anyone know when this year's Yorkshire tornado season gets underway? 

I'm a White, get me out of here

The good news is that I - and everyone else - managed to survive yet another camping weekend.  The bad news is that everyone else wants to go back again next year.

To be fair, the weather was good, the company was very good and new camp chef "Pistol" Pete Mallott was very, very good.

But, when all is said and done, I still had to sleep on the freezing ground in a sleeping bag - despite the fact that we own a house.

On the upside, I did have Jamie for company in the boys' side of the tent...

...and we definitely had more fun than those dull girlies. 

Jamie also got to try out his new metrosexual wetsuit for the first time...

...and was a much easier sight on the eye than Dagenham Dave who looked way more camp than the large row of tents behind him.

Meanwhile, Charlotte had a go at digging to Australia...

...before retiring to the pub to recuperate with a pint (of milk) and a large bag of Quavers.

That was her/my favourite bit of the weekend.

Finally, big thanks to Pete and Mike for taking our tent down.  Oh, and for putting it up. 

There's no substitute for experience.  

Friday, 20 July 2012

Duck in Hell

Today is the day I dread above all others in the calendar year (other than the first day back after the Christmas holidays). That's right, it's time for the annual camping weekend.

Of course it is - it's been raining for weeks, it's still raining, the ground is sodden, it's breezy, it's cold for July and the forecast is uncertain. 

It's therefore absolutely the obvious "choice" to leave my nice, warm home and big TV behind and spend the next two nights sleeping in a big, stupid tent in the arse end of nowhere.  Brilliant.  I just can't wait.

This year I have packed my
duck radio.  This is for two specific reasons: 
  1. To remind me that the big, wide world out there still exists, and
  2. To attempt to drown out the endless witters of Dagenham Dave who will inevitably be talking bollocks.
So, whatever you're planning to do this weekend, please think of me.  You might even want to say a little prayer.  And if you are talking to God, please ask Him why the **** he invented camping.  

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Out and about in Guiseley

I was on my way home from work tonight when Vanessa called to suggest that I pick up a copy of Yorkshire Life.

This was not something I'd done before, on the grounds that Yorkshire Life is just like Ulster Tatler ("Northern Ireland's No.1 Social Magazine"). 

You may note that this month's Yorkshire Life front cover (pictured above) trails a feature on Menston and Guiseley.  So let's quickly flick to page 81.

Hmmm.  Some of those people look familiar.  Let's have a closer look.

Oh right, it's them.

And who are they?

Ah yes, them. 

I didn't know "James" (dressed by Primark) was into flowers.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Film 2012 with Barry White

With Jonathan Ross dumped by the BBC, his Film 2012 replacement Claudia Winkleman physically unable to see the screen because of her stupid fringe, and Mark Kermode continuing to vie with Robert Peston for the title of Most Irritating Man in Britain, I have decided to launch a new career as a movie critic.

Well, OK, not strictly true - but I have had a go. 

My old friend Stuart Barrow, founder of recently-launched theatre company Politiker Productions, got in touch with me a couple of days ago asking if I would write a review of a new political mockumentary entitled "I Am A Great Man" which has just been released for download on t'Internet.

I watched the film last night - well worth a fiver of anyone's money - and you can read my thoughts here.

And if you feel so inclined, you can access the movie yourself by clicking here.    

(Unpaid) advert over.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Mower excitement

Above, ladies and gentlemen, you can see my new Qualcast 1000W Electric Rotary Mower.  And isn't she a beauty? 

Well, not really - but she was on offer for fifty quid at Homebase so in the boot she went. 

Buying a new lawnmower wasn't on my agenda when I rose from my pit yesterday morning.  But then my decrepit old Flymo went up in smoke (note the helpful black circle I've added for you)...

...and was quickly laid to rest.

Undignified, maybe, but there was room and today was bin day.

Jamie and Charlotte were initially excited by my purchase but soon decided that the box was where the real thrills lay.

And then Jamie literally just lay (in it).

All in all, just another Sunday at our house. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012


I took Jamie for a McDonald's Happy Meal a little earlier and, on the way back, thought I would seize the opportunity to test his powers of mental arithmetic. 

"What's one plus one," I asked. 

"Six," came the response. 

"No," I replied, gently.  "Let's try it another way.  What's one and another one?"

"Two."  Bingo - we were in business. 

"What's two and another one?"


"And what's three and another one?"

"Four."  The boy was clearly on a roll.  So I decided to raise the bar.

"Let's make it a little harder," I said.  "What's four and another two?  That's four and another one and another one.  So, Jamie, what's four plus two?"

"A quarter past three."

He starts school in September.

Friday, 13 July 2012

That was the week that was

Above you can see the moment, captured exactly a week ago almost to the very second, when I just about managed to stop Charlotte spilling her apple juice all over my traditional last-night-of-the-holiday-white-linen-shirt. 

On the left you can see the remnants of my pint and a full one beside it.  Beside them and just out of shot is Vanessa's large gin and tonic. 

 Now have a look at the picture below, taken shortly afterwards.

That's right, she somehow managed to approach the table from the other side and knock all the beer, all the gin and all the tonic all over my fetching outfit. 

It was a great week and I've since spent another week celebrating/reminiscing about it.

Tomorrow we move on.    

In a spin

Now that I've finally worked out how to upload videos, I want to share another short piece of footage from last week's White family holiday. 

We were by the pool when the cry went out for small people who wanted to drive an electric boat to form an orderly queue.  Jamie was soon standing in line.

What happened next will, again, stick with me for some time.

By the way, I do hope you heard me shout "STEER!"  Jamie appeared not to.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

At least I was in the right place

I had a bit of a daddy (some might say baby) strop at Jamie and Charlotte's nursery earlier today.

The modern trend before kids leave nurseries these days (which I only recently became aware of) is for them to get dressed up in mortar boards and gowns to receive their "graduation" certificates - AWWWWW!!!/BARF!!! (delete according to preference).  I would be an AWWWWW!!! man. 

And today was to be Jamie's big day.  But the nursery ballsed it up on two fronts. 

First, they advised that the formal pictures had actually been taken some time ago and so the "ceremony" itself would be small scale and barely worth the effort.  Plus, few parents went anyway  - so neither did I.   It subsequently turned out that lots did turn up today.

I then arrived to find that they hadn't taken a pic of Jamie in the garb after all and the photographer wasn't coming back. 


I didn't swear (there were kids present) and I wasn't rude, but I did stamp my little booties in a manner the nursery staff were no doubt used to seeing (although not from me).  I wasn't happy and I'm still not.

On the upside, at least Jamie did have a certificate to bring home.

The bit at the bottom is the best, reading as follows:

"We will remember you because of your humerous (sic) conversations and love for computers."

Very nice (despite the spelling).

The also gave him a present to show that, in Jamie's words, "they'll miss me and they want me to be happy."

Also very nice.

But where's his ******* picture?!

Lennox goes to the farm

A little spoken fact about my past work history is that I once spent three months as a dog warden coordinator at Belfast City Council - I even had a CB radio "handle" (kids - ask your parents).

I tell you this because the city's dog wardens were in the news yesterday after being obliged to "HD" Lennox the dog following two years on doggy death row.  (In dog warden world, "HD" stands for "humanely destruct" as opposed to "high definition" which is something entirely different). 

Despite a global campaign including the collection of 200,000 signatures appealing for clemency, Lennox met his end on the grounds that he was classed as a pit bull and therefore the canine equivalent of an illegal immigrant under Northern Ireland law.

Poor Lennox's fate reminded me of one particularly eccentric Belfast dog warden during my time, who we'll call "John" (that being his name).

John was one of those classic people you meet who would slot straight into a sitcom without the need to change or exaggerate his character in any way.  And he just loved to drag dogs away for "HD."

Of course, not all owners were as keen to see their pooches terminated as he was, particularly when the owners in question were kids.  But John had a tactic for dealing with this, which he once relayed to me with a bloodcurdling smile.

"I tell them I'm taking their beloved little darling off to the farm," he explained.

"Aw, that's nice," I replied. 

"And it's the truth, because they do end up on a farm," John enthused.

"Oh," I said, "and how come?"

"Because after I've killed them, they're made into fertiliser!"

RIP Lennox.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Jamie wins a prize

Being useless with technology, it's taken me several days to work out how to get this video online.  But I've finally managed it and now humbly invite you to share my favourite moment of last week's White family holiday in Menorca.

The brief background is this.  With a little help from his mother, Jamie has just called out the correct answer to a competition entitled "What's In Wotsit's Box." And it's time to collect his prize.

I hope you enjoy his reaction even a little bit as much as I have over the last 10 days.

By the way, the male presenter/holiday rep is called Liam and he's going to be a star.

A picture can paint a single word

This was the sight that "greeted" me when I opened the back door this morning to collect our milk.

And yes I did cry (a very, VERY bad word).

Sunday, 8 July 2012

It wasn't me

The tragic and, for me, shocking news is that I didn't win the National Lottery jackpot last night - I didn't even get my tenner back - so it's work tomorrow rather than a private jet to Menorca.

Needless to say I'm not thrilled at this outcome.  In fact, I haven't experienced post-holiday blues like this since being dragged out of Butlin's in Ayr circa 1978.

We did have a terrific time, particularly the kids who really got into the spirit of things.

Jamie swam with a (blow-up) dolphin...

...and Charlotte had fun near a (blow-up) boat... did Jamie (although he actually got into his).

He also won a swimming certificate...

....Charlotte was cool about his success...

...but Daddy lost his quiz...

...despite the family support on hand.

And Wee John even put in an unexpected appearance... 

...which made both Mummy and Charlotte smile.

And that, I'm afraid, was that (other than the 20 short videos I also took which I'll not inflict on you at this stage).

Is it EuroMillions on Tuesday?