Sunday, 30 September 2012

Slow coach

It's Sunday, meaning another micro rugby session for our Jamie. 

And, I have to say, he is making progress.  I'm sure I saw him running in the right direction at least once today.

However, I fear his steady advancement is at risk of being halted after a new coach joined the fold today.  Me. 

There I was, minding my own business at pitchside with all the other rugby mums and dads, when the head coach - whose name forever escapes me - called on me to assist with the "cat and mouse" game.

This should not have been a huge challenge for yours truly, as it is a drill (albeit with a different name) I took part in hundreds of times myself in my own playing days.  But could I remember how it worked?  Of course I couldn't.  Plus, having an audience of four and five year-olds and their parents watching made me very self-conscious. 

The result was that I made something of mouth of myself and the head coach spent more time guiding me than any of the actual players. 

I fear I'll not be volunteered again next week, if only to save Jamie deeper embarrassment.  

Thursday, 27 September 2012

STOP: Dad Crossing

Almost four weeks into Jamie's tenure at infant school and I have no complaints.  OK, maybe just the one.

I drop Jamie off at his pre-school club thingy at around 8.20 each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning before heading off to get my train.  Now, it seems that he is the last to arrive at his pre-school club thingy, meaning there are generally no other parents around as I walk back out of the school gate.  Also, because school itself doesn't start until 9am, there are no other parents or kids yet arriving for the real thing. But the road outside is still very busy.

However - and herein lies the problem - the school lollypop man starts at 8.25.  And, by the time I get Jamie out of his coat, sign him in and get myself the hell out of there, it is 8.25 and our hero is fully in position at the zebra crossing.  At the other end of the zebra crossing (where the traffic are obviously obliged to stop anyway) is the shop where I now get my papers, meaning that I have to cross it.

I don't know whether Mr Lollypopman sees me as a means of knocking the cobwebs off the old lollypopping muscles. But he now insists on stopping the traffic on my behalf with his big pop, walking half way across the road with his arm around my shoulder and waving me on my way.

Lovely man, but I'm not convinced he knows I'm 40.  Either that, or he thinks I'm even older and he's training me up. Neither is good.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Look to the Sky

I'm one of those saddo 24-hour news junkies.  But even I have to concede that sometimes it's pretty rubbish. 

For example, a few minutes ago whilst I was eating my lunchtime sandwich, Sky News crossed live to their man in York who has been covering the floods.  And this is what the anchorwoman said:

"Hi Mike, what's the situation where you are?  Pretty wet still?"

Maybe she didn't have Sky News on.    

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bit of a dampener

You may have spotted the rain outside over the past 36 hours or so.  Above you can see the road outside Guiseley train station which I swam down a little earlier.

My principal problem today was trying to get Jamie to school with dry trousers. 

Hi wellies on, his big coat on, I pulled out the biggest brolly I could lay my hands on and the two of us set off on a joint waddle.

This was never going to be easy, given that he's about three feet shorter than me - Wee John and I have had similar problems in the past when walking to the pub.  

And as a result, it took us quite a while.  In fact, the normal 20 minute journey was still not complete after more than half an hour.  But the important thing was that Jamie's trousers remained bone dry, mission almost accomplished.  

All that remained was the simple task of traversing the zebra crossing and passing through the school's main gate.  But no.

When we reached said main gate, it was locked, forcing us to make a detour down a side street towards the  rear entrance.  

It was just as we turned into the side street that I first spotted the big van.  It was a split second later that it drove through the big puddle and soaked Jamie from the waist down.    


Are you having that one? The Encore

OK, one more for the road - this time from a friend, and passed on to Jamie to end his act.

Why did the toilet roll go down the hill?

To get to the bottom.

I thank you.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Are you having that one? Act II

I came home tonight to be ambushed by the resident comedian.  That's right, Jamie has a new joke.

Jamie: "What do you call a dinosaur with no eyes?"

Me: "I don't know.  What do you call a dinosaur with no eyes?"

Jamie: "Doyouthinkhesaurus."


Friday, 21 September 2012

Are you having that one?

Jamie has been doing some work on his stand up comedy routine, but I'm not convinced it's quite ready for the stage.

Here's his latest "gag":  

"Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"


As I say, perhaps still in need of a polish. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Medical update

Our house has been like a sick bay over the past few weeks. 

First Vanessa picked up a bug and was confined to bed.  Then I developed an enormous abscess on my tooth, was attacked by killer man flu, twisted my knee horrendously, visciously jarred my back and shattered my rib cage. (Thankfully I'm not one for complaining). Then Charlotte got the sniffles.  And Jamie had a tummy upset, leaving him with a rear exit not dissimilar in appearance to that of a Japanese flag.

But hopefully it's all behind us (including Jamie's behind, which remains a shade of angry red).

I hear tomorrow is Friday.  Good.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

My day

I worked at home today as Jamie had the shits and had to be kept off school.

Between the hours of 9am and 5pm, I had five non-work-related contacts with the outside world, as follows (in chronological order):

  1. A call from some firm offering to insulate our walls and loft for free. A contractor is now coming to waste more of our time at 10am on Saturday, before inevitably leaving empty-handed having done no work.     
  2. A call from a BT bint asking if we wanted to upgrade our account.  I said no.  After a brief pause, she said she wasn't surprised as it sounded like we had a bug on our line and suggested that I phone someone else from BT to get it fixed.  She didn't say who.
  3. A call from an Indian gentleman claiming to be calling "on behalf of the Internet." I queried this. He changed his story, and claimed he was calling "on behalf of broadband."  I queried this.  He changed his story, and claimed he was calling "on behalf of BT." I queried his parentage. He hung up.
  4. A knock on the door from someone offering to insulate our walls and loft for free. I told him about the earlier phone call and appointment on Saturday morning.  He asked for more information. I asked him to go away.  He went away. 
  5. Details as at paragraph 4 - but the part of the man salesman was played by a woman salesman.
Jamie's shits appear to have ceased.

I'm looking forward to getting out of the house tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Combat capers

I arrived home last night just in time to witness a series of contenders seek to defeat the current one-to-one combat house champion.

First, Jamie had a poke with a wooden sword.

Then a mystery knight with a light sabre had a swipe.

Even a gun-slinging Simon Cowell flew in for a pop.

But none could defeat the reigning champion, armed with a simple sword and shield, who easily retained her crown.

Monday, 17 September 2012

A (Ginger) Knight's Tale

A bizarre little episode at teatime last night, which Jamie and Charlotte's Godmother/Auntie Vicky very kindly joined us for (it's nice to have company once in a while). 

Just as we adults were finishing up our coffee and girlie chat (I like to listen and make an occasional contribution), Charlotte approached the table with a look of grave concern.

She was carrying a ginger-haired knight. 

Now, I haven't seen many knight films, but I am struggling to recall a carrot-topped hero in any of them. And Charlotte would appear to have experienced a similar void.  

So the ginger knight's hair had to change.  Vicky and Vanessa initially tried to fob her off. But, after briefly disappearing, Charlotte soon returned with a new dark mane for our wannabe warrior.  

And refused to budge until the emergency transplant took place.

Ever politically-correct, I have long argued that ginger people are people too (especially my ginger friends who read this blog).  As such, ginger knights, in my view, have as much right to be knights as brown or blonde-haired knights, or even baldies.

After Charlotte went to bed, I therefore made a point of returning our brave knight to all his ginger glory.

But I did take the precaution of sticking a helmet on him, just in case he runs into madam again later. 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A shaky solution

There's been a huge debate in the media over the last 48 hours about the rights and wrongs of Premier League footballers shaking hands before each game. 

Many commentators have even suggested that the perfectly commendable practice (to my mind) should be stopped.

But I have a solution.

From here on in, players should only be asked to shake hands before matches that John Terry's not playing in. 

There we are, job done.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

In the dog house

I was walking Jamie to school this morning when we passed a selection of dog kennels on display outside a pet shop.

"We should get one of those for Uncle John to sleep in next time he comes to stay," said Master White.  "And put him in the garage."

Immense pride does not adequately describe how I felt upon hearing these words.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Is it Thursday yet?

I'm not saying I've had a dull evening but, after the failure of Dallas to float my boat, the bizarre sight of peas and carrots boiling separately in the same pot was the clear highlight.

Thankfully, tomorrow is not far away.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Daddy will do

I'm now fairly certain that Charlotte knows who I am.

In fact, it was all but confirmed yesterday morning when she awoke from her slumber, rose up in her cot and shouted "Daddy!" in the direction of our room.

I was thrilled (although Vanessa was even more thrilled as it meant she didn't have to get up). 

Charlotte's warm greeting contrasted sharply with what Jamie used to cry out of a morning when he was younger.

He had developed a habit of waking up much too early, particularly at weekends. So Vanessa bought him an alarm clock which went "cock-a-doodle-doo," set it to go off at 6.30am and told him he wasn't allowed to get up until he heard that sound.

But Jamie had a cunning plan.  When he woke up and rather than wait for the alarm, he thought a cockerel impersonation would do just as well.  The only problem was, "cock-a-doodle-doo" is something of an oratorical challenge for a two-year-old.

Instead, we had regular shouts of "Cock! Cock! Cock!" emanating from Jamie's room.

This presented Vanessa with an open goal.

"He's calling for you," she would spout, smugly.

As I say, I much prefer Charlotte's approach.     

Sunday, 9 September 2012

I might have to buy a cabinet

I had a big lump in my throat earlier today when Jamie won the trophy for most improved player at micro rugby. 

This was only his second week and, in truth, his achievement might have had more to do with his performance last Sunday rather than this morning (if you know what I'm saying).

And there are clearly many parts of his game that require work.  For example, he really needs to stop running like a cross between Phoebe from Friends and Benny Hill.

But, you know, he's enjoying himself, getting fit and making his daddy very proud. Let's hope it's not the only piece of silverware lifted by someone in an Ulster Rugby shirt this season.

Pope snubs sinner

News reaches me that arch-Catholic and general irritation Wee John was yesterday turned away from the Vatican for wearing shorts.

Credit to His Holiness who clearly knows an idiot when his security people see one. 

Plus, can you imagine how long that particular confession would take?

Saturday, 8 September 2012

I'll name that name in one: Sh*t

Sadly, I'm someone with many pet hates.  And close of the top of the list are houses with names. 

I'm sorry if your house falls into this category, but I just think it's a teeny bit naff. 

Elvis lived at Gracelands, yes. But he was the King of Pop so kind of earned the right to christen his pad. Michael Jackson lived at Neverland, but he was clinically bonkers (official medical term).

But, for example, if you live at number 63 Credibility Street (made up address), I see no reason why you would wish to name your house Serenity - even if the wooden plaque was going for half-price at B&Q (because no-one else wanted it).

However, there's much, much worse.

I was travelling through Leeds on a bus earlier today and spotted the house you can see above - complete with plaque.

Can anyone please tell me why the owner has chosen to name their very own home Chestnuts?  I mean, seriously.   

If I was that house, quite frankly, I'd be embarrassed.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Willy woes

Jamie had his first stand up wee yesterday, something of a landmark event for a young man. 

"I didn't even hold my willy," he informed me shortly afterwards.

"Oh, and why not?" I asked.

"Because it's bigger than yours."

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cricket balls

I've been a touch inconsistent in updating this rubbish over the last week as a result of illness and injury. 

I mentioned last week that I'd been stuffing myself with drugs to treat an abscess on a tooth, and I still am.  (I've also got a heavy man cold - poor me). In fact, the latest course of anti-biotics could be - and possibly are - used to put horses to sleep.  What's more, I'm not allowed to drink whilst taking them (yes, I might spill it - boom, boom).

The glee with which my dentist delivered this news to me suggested that (1) other options were available and (2) she wasn't allowing me to explore them.  She's even sicker than I am.

On the upside (1) they are working and (2) I will be non-teetotal again by Saturday night (after cleverly revising the gaps between doses).

So that's the illness aspect of my current physical status dealt with.  Now for the injuries - and I'll try to keep this short.

I went along to support a charity cricket event on Sunday. What I didn't go along to do was play in it.  But, two pints after my arrival, I was on the field ready to make a mouth of myself.  And I didn't disappoint. 

It was a six-a-side game, five overs each, with each player (other than the wicket-keeper) expected to bowl one over apiece. 

I volunteered myself to bat last in our innings and, after only three wickets fell, I didn't have to strap the pads on at all.  I love it when a plan comes together. 

Then it was my team's turn to bowl.  Again, I bravely offered to bowl last.  And again my selfless offer was accepted.  But then events began to go downhill.

With four overs bowled and one to go, I was tossed the ball.  Our opponents needed ten runs to win.  It was my job to stop them scoring them. 

With upwards of 100 people watching, I strode up to bowl my first competitive ball since 1986 - straight down the leg side for a wide.  The crowd groaned.  Nine runs to win, six balls to go.

My next ball, thankfully on the stumps, went for four. My next two deliveries were better, no runs scored. Three balls to go, five runs to win for our opponents.

The next went for four once again.  One run required for victory, two balls to go.

It was at this point that the arse truly fell out of proceedings (as they say in Coleraine).

My next ball was on the wicket but hit very hard a couple of yards to my left by the batsman .  I made a split second/foolish decision to dive and - incredibly - stopped the ball.

I also cracked a rib, strained my knee and damaged a back muscle.

I wasn't aware of these specifics at the time; all I knew was that it ****ing hurt.  But, as the crowd cheered,  my pride took over and I picked myself and prepared to bowl the final ball.  One run was needed to win. 

But I got carried away.  With the crowd still cheering, I took an extra long run-up before unleashing the leather bound missile towards the batsman - straight over his head for a wide, a run and a defeat for my team. Some of the spectators' cheers even turned to boos.

I downed my third pint of the afternoon within seconds of coming off the field.  At least I could drink back then.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Off to learn stuff

Today has been one of those days that you think about as a parent for years and wonder what it will feel like when it comes - the day when your first child starts school.

Yes, today was Jamie's big day. 

The feeling for Vanessa and me was obviously one of immense pride - exactly the same as every other parent who turned up with their sprogs in tow, no doubt.

After several minutes of collective reassurance and the odd tear, us mums and dads were finally shooed out of the classroom to allow the kids to await the arrival of their teacher.

And my warped mind bizarrely transported me to that famous scene at the beginning of An Officer and a Gentleman where Gunnery Sergeant Foley questions the species/sexual preferences of his new charges.

I would imagine Mrs Buckton adopted a more welcoming approach.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

What I did last weekend

I was planning a relatively industrious weekend this weekend, but my increasingly bulbous face is proving to be something of a drag on this ambition.  

But I couldn't be much less productive than I was last weekend which I set aside to decorate Charlotte's room.  

To be fair, it wasn't entirely my fault as Vanessa chose the paint, not me.  

Indeed, it was only when I got it out of the garage that I realised it was the exact same colour used the last time the room was painted.  

If you don't believe me, here is the main wall before (left) and after (right) I slaved over it.      

And yes, I appreciate the "after" appears marginally darker, but that is only because the paint was still wet and the photo was taken late in the day just as the sun was heading off for the evening. 

So that was good.