Monday, 23 December 2013

One bird, one stone

I brought our turkey home tonight to lie in state in the garage fridge. 

And it's a big bird (think Newcastle city centre on a Saturday night).

So much so that I decided to weigh it on our bathroom scales. 

One stone precisely. 

I'm nothing if not proud. 
But what to name him/her? 
Last year, Tyrone did us proud.  We shall/do remember him.
However, having spent much of the weekend just gone trying to decide what to call this year's table treat, I still could not decide.
Enter Sue the charming cleaner.
At work, we share a kitchen with a local church and sunny Sue and I have a little chat two or three times a week. 
This morning I arrived with our turkey dragging behind me having just come from Asda.  And I mentioned that I intended to park it in the kitchen where it was cool.  That was not good enough for our Sue.  Oh no.
It had to go in the church fridge. The only problem was that the fridge was behind a door to which I wasn't certain I had a key.
To calm my nerves, Sue said she wouldn't lock the door - just in case.  But, unbeknownst to me, she went a step further.  
And when I went collect our turkey at the end of the day, I discovered a note.        
Barry Turkey, I hope you enjoy the next 36 hours with us'll find out...

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Three candles on her cake

In common with another well-known British queen, Charlotte had two birthdays this year; her real one last Thursday, and her public one today.

The highlight of this morning's formal duties (think Trooping the Colour) was attending her party at a local play barn.  (Can you spot her waving at her subjects?)

There was a big turnout from her bezzie mates (and their dedicated parents). 

Even Yoda put in an appearance.

And all seemed to go without a hitch.

Well, I say that.  In truth there was one slight hiccup. 

You see, three is quite old. And three candles on your cake is a heck of a lot to be expected to blow out on your own.

Enter Oliver Clarke, stage left. 

His help was very much appreciated.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Me and my girl

Three years ago today, Charlotte Frances White was thrust into the world by the power of Mum.

It's been something of an adventure ever since.

This morning, alongside big bro, the process of celebrating her big landmark got underway.  (Another event is planned for Saturday).

And what do I think?  Well. She's my girl. 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Sleigh bells ring and grumpy girls sing

Santa Claus made his traditional pre-Christmas visit to the Silverdale estate tonight, courtesy of Guiseley Lions. 

Jamie enjoyed the moment, as he has done for each of the past three years.

But Charlotte couldn't be arsed.  After all, she has already seen him twice in recent weeks.  And, to be fair, the warning signs were there the last time she was forced to have her picture taken with him.   

Talking of legendary old blokes, last night was the Status Quo concert. 

And a great night was had, albeit a bit surreal at times - mainly due to the crowd.  Honestly, I've never seen anything quite like it.

First, my old Coleraine man brother Paul and I were told off by a fat lass behind for talking during 10cc, the support act.

And then a sour-faced woman told Paul off for dancing - behind her.      
However, experience has taught me to keep the powder dry when these things happen.  And, by the end, the great man had gone to join the fat lass and her friends for a pic.

Rock on.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

He's (not) the daddy

Following the false start of a few weeks ago when Jamie got his dates wrong, today was the day when the baby Jesus showed Himself to the world - in a makeshift stable at Guiseley Infants School. Who'd have thought. (It said on the match programme that He also appeared yesterday afternoon in the first performance of the Sleepy Shepherd but, having not seen Him myself, I refuse to believe).
As previously revealed here, Jamie bagged the key role of Joseph and seemed to revel in it.  In fact, his shouty "thank you" when handed a box of gold by one of the wise men was a sure highlight of the entire production.  
The only downside was him finding out he was not Jesus' real father in front of so many people. 
If you ask me, just because Jamie's a lifelong friend of Jeremy Kyle doesn't mean he should be treated like one of the great man's delinquent guests.
But still.
The boy did good - and even managed a sneaky wave for my sneaky pic.  

 Let's hope Santa Claus was watching too.

Let there be rock

Like most other people with an interest in these things, on Sunday I watched Andy Murray receive this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on TV.

Buy this was only due to the fact that he couldn't be arsed to travel to Leeds to pick up the trophy in person. 

Had he done so, all I would've had to do was look down.

Yes, alongside 11,999 other lucky souls, I managed to get a ticket for one of the most prestigious events in the sporting calendar. 

And the setting - the brand, spanking new First Direct Arena - was as much as if not more impressive than the stars who filled the stage.

Indeed, so excited were my stepdad Derek and I that we did the obvious thing - and took a selfie.

Having had to wait six months to enter the grandest new entertainment venue the country has to offer, I feel a touch spoilt to advise you that I shall be returning there this evening.

In a case of "in with the new and out come the old," tonight is the night that my top mate (and fellow man of Coleraine) Paul and I head to see Status Quo, supported by the equally crumbly 10cc.

And who knows, maybe Cliff Richard will come on at the end (although I do hope not).

Rock on.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Strokes of good fortune

We had an unexpected but welcome visitor to our door on Sunday afternoon.

It was a kindly neighbour, who had previously stood on our doorstep about 10 days earlier clutching a piece of paper featuring a black and white drawing of Father Christmas.

She explained she was promoting a colouring competition to raise funds for Guiseley Senior Citizens.  And, for a mere 50p entry fee, Jamie could win a prize. 

I took her up on her kind offer and, later that night, Jamie completed his masterpiece and I left it aside for submission.

That was the last I heard or thought of the episode until yesterday when our nice neighbour reappeared clutching a mini chocolate Santa.

"You remember when your little boy entered the colouring competition?" she recounted.

"Er, yes," replied Vanessa, who (because I was wearing an apron) I'd dispatched to answer the door.

"Well, he won and here's his prize!" she beamed.

Thanking our neighbour, Vanessa returned to tell Jamie the good news and hand him his reward.  He was thrilled.

A couple of minutes later, a slightly (more than normal) confused Mrs W pulled me to one side with a query.

"Did you hand in Jamie's entry?" she asked.

"No.  Did you?"


We later found it sitting on top of the fridge.

Still, a win is a win.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Happy Charlottemas

It was Charlotte's nursery Christmas show today. 

She was quiet to begin with, but then she piped up.

What an angel.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Flying Furby

You don't have to be the most eagle-eyed Christmas shopper to spot that Furbies are back.

Yes, the love-them-or-hate-them battery-operated creatures have been relaunched once again after a gap of eight years.

When they first appeared in the late 1990s, I was still in the relatively early stages of courting Vanessa.  And I thought I would do something both ingenious and romantic. 

That's right, I would buy Vanessa a Furby for her birthday.

One that looked exactly like this, in fact.    

Isn't he/she/it lovely? Awww. 

Her reaction: "You bought me a Furby?"

Then reaction I had hoped for: "You bought me a Furby!"

(It's all in the grammar). 

As the days and weeks passed, Vanessa and her Furby did not grow close.  Indeed, the poor thing became more of an ornament than a pet (if you can call something shoved on top of a bookcase, surrounded by an assortment of non-decorative items, an ornament.  I'd say you probably couldn't).

As weeks became months, nothing changed. 

That was until Wee John came over to our flat in Clapham Junction - Vanessa and I had shacked up by this stage - to watch the rugby on TV.  And His Weeness got carried away. 

So carried away did he get, that he decided to do his Jonny Wilkinson impersonation.

And drop-kicked the poor, unloved, unwanted Furby against our landing wall.

Finally coming to rest at the bottom of the stairs, he/she/it never did make another sound.

A waste of a life?  You could say that.

A waste of forty quid.  Absolutely, bloody definitely. 

Without wishing to give too much away, I can exclusively reveal here that Mrs W will not be getting another one for Christmas.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Hairy horror

Jamie's Wee Uncle Godfather John came to see him (and goddaughter Charlotte) this weekend, and much fun was had.

So much so, that Jamie felt it incumbent upon himself to draw a portrait of tribute for His Weeness to take back to that London.

And beards aren't easy. But I think he just about nailed it.     

Friday, 6 December 2013

3 in the bed and the little one ain't bothered

Charlotte hasn't been feeling at her best over recent days - she has a "poorly ear."

And when you have a poorly ear, you need company. 

Normally, when she's not happy during the darkened hours, Charlotte's approach is to scream loud enough to be carried into our room and deposited on my pillow.

But tonight the sister (of Jamie) was doing it for herself, and made her own way while V and me were having our tea. (That rhymes).

Yup, that's my pillow. 

This has not happened before and I'm loathe to move her.

Thankfully, the Ashes cricket is about to start on the telly, live from Australia.  And they'll be up for hours yet.   

SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE: When I eventually did try to get in, Charlotte sensed my presence, opened one eye and muttered: "I was here first." Women.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela and me

This was moment, in the autumn of 2000, when former South African President Nelson Mandela attended the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. 

I was seated many rows back, but very definitely in the direction you can see him waving.

In other words, it is almost certain he was waving at me - although he never said.

News of his death, announced tonight, was one of those "where were you when you heard?" moments that don't come along too often. (For the record, I was sitting on the sofa and I'm still here).

It is a sad and historic occasion.

But I feel comfort in the knowledge that Gabrielle (who warmed us up by singing 'Dreams'), Tony Blair, John Prescott, me and several thousand others had the chance to spend some quality time together when the opportunity was there.

RIP Madiba.

Cheeky porker

This was Jamie a little earlier having some supper in his casual clothes.

The scene is in stark contrast to last night when, with Vanessa out on the razzle dazzle, I committed the cardinal error of presenting him with a bowl of spaghetti bolognese for tea - while he was still wearing his school uniform.

He left home in a fresh one this morning.

More frustrated by my own stupidly than by my son's pig-like qualities, I demanded to know why his clothes were so badly soiled.

"Because, I'm a messy eater," he purred back through a smirk.

As I say, all my fault.   

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

That's chest freezing great

Above you can see the door of our under-the-stairs cupboard thingy. 

The door frame is precisely 50.6cms wide.

Below you can see our brand new chest freezer, delivered yesterday evening.

As it turns out, the width of this hugely exciting purchase at its narrowest point is 52.6cms, meaning it won't fit in. Trust me, I tried.

On the face of it, this looks like something of a domestic disaster. But not quite.

As luck would have it, Arctic weather is due to arrive over our house on Thursday so we'll not then need a freezer any more.

Swings and roundabouts.  

Monday, 2 December 2013

And we're off (to TK Maxx)

It's December and the pre-Christmas excitement is building.  (I don't think I've ever had so much beer stashed away than I have at the moment).

Of course, the season of goodwill is all about sharing joy and happiness, and being generous when you can. 

And it was in this spirit that, yesterday afternoon, I was the recipient of all of the above from a kindly stranger wearing a TK Maxx uniform.

I was doing a bit of shopping in Leeds city centre with various family members in mind.

Father Christmas himself is obviously responsible for Jamie and Charlotte's gifts, so they weren't on my list. 

But that was before I walked into TK Maxx to be met by a treasure trove of sheer toy goodness - at especially keen prices.  I soon decided that Santa wouldn't mind if I acquired one or two extra bits for him to pass on to the kids on the big night. He could even have the credit. 

So picked up a couple of fun-based items. Then a couple more. I got a big trolley basket. I picked up a couple more. Then a couple more. I ended up with 15 items in the end - an overflowing basket and all I could carry under my spare arm. 

I wasn't really keeping a tally of what I was spending - Santa would be getting the bill in any case - but I knew I was well past the £100 mark as I joined the queue for the tills.

It was at this point that I first began to wonder whether I had perhaps gone a little bit too far. And, as I edged up the queue, it is likely that a mild degree of panic was etched across my face.

Cue arrival of nice TK Maxx lady, who was giving out sweets to sweaty customers.  (I chose some fudge, just so you know).

As I thanked her, she surveyed my mountain of gifts.

"Do you know anyone who works for TX Maxx?" she asked.

"No," I replied (thinking that she was bound to).

"That's a shame," she said, "because there's a 20% family and friends staff discount today, but only today."

"Oh," I pondered, before doing what anyone else would do in this situation.  Yes, I put on my "pathetic" face.

"That would have been very handy because I have bought quite a lot," I whimpered.  "They're for my little boy and little girl, you know.  He's five and she's three very soon.  And..."

"You can be my friend," she interjected. 

You can guess the rest - KER-CHING!!!!

It was my first taste of 2013 Christmas spirit, and I liked it.  

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A sh*t of the tongue

I was getting dressed yesterday morning when Charlotte arrived with some startling news.

"I shit on the dining room floor."

Now, this is not something I would expect to hear from my daughter.  I say so for three reasons:
  1. She's a girl and I've always been told that girls don't, you know, poo;
  2. She'd not performed such a foul act (pardon the pun) on the dining room floor in the past; and
  3. I'd not previously heard her swear.
So I asked her to tell me again what had happened. 

"I shit on the dining room floor."

"Tell me again."

"I shit on the dining room floor."

"Say that again."

"I shit on the dining room floor."

"What happened?"

"I shit on the dining room floor."

"Say it slowly.  What did you do?"

"I shit on the dining room floor."


"I shit on the dining room floor."

"OK, one more time.  Tell me what you did."

"I shit on the dining room floor."

I was now officially concerned.  So I took her downstairs with me to see what state the dining room floor was in.

Thankfully, there was nothing to report other than a clean(ish) carpet. 

So I asked Charlotte to tell me again what she'd done.

"I shit on the dining room floor."


"I shit on the dining room floor."

I decided a change of tack was necessary, albeit one with an element of risk.

"Can you show me what you did?"

And with a little nod, she threw herself to the ground.

"Ah!  You slipped on the dining room floor?"


Good news.  (She wasn't hurt).

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Celtic confusion

Jamie's bestest pal Euan stayed at ours on a sleepover gig last night.  (And, for the record, was a model guest).

But before leaving, he had a burning question for me.

"Barry, why are you Scottish?"

Given that I've always thought I was from Northern Ireland, that is a very difficult one to answer.

So I told him I'd get back to him.

Oh, sorry, wrong picture.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Who are you?

Tomorrow is Saturday (on the ball, me) and I've got the kids in the morning. Whoop. (Apologies if that didn't sound too enthusiastic).
Last Saturday, of course, was Doctor Who 50th anniversary day. And, like many families, we Whites huddled together in shared bewilderment. 

Earlier in the day, I dragged Jamie to Bradford to sample the brand new Doctor Who and Me exhibition.  

And I am delighted to report that it was a major step up from the Doctor Poo exhibition of a few weeks previously.

Oh yes. This time we had a Tardis.

We had an invasion (is that the plural?) of proper Daleks.

We even had an old Cyberman.

Actually, that's not true. We had two old Cybermen.

And here's the other one.

You know, that's not true either. The second "Cyberman" was just an old bloke in a silver suit, gold wrestling boots and a rubbish mask who really wanted to be a Cyberman.

Him and I had a little chat and he explained that he wasn't part of the exhibition at all. But he just turned up to ask if anyone wanted to have their photo taken with him. 

In common with everyone else in the room, Jamie didn't fancy it. So I told him he had to - or he couldn't go to McDonald's for lunch.

Our new Cyberfriend had no such worries. His sandwiches were in that plastic bag.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Jesus update

I have some news about Jesus.

On Monday, I wrote here that the Son of God was due to reveal His Holy face at Guiseley Infants school assembly next Friday morning. 

But I was mistaken. 

As all mothers out there will be all too painfully aware, the first born can sometimes take his or her time before putting in a show. And it turns out that arrivals by Virgin birth can be even less predictable.

So, as things stand and with Jamie still as Joseph, He is now due to be born at 2.30 pm on Monday 16 December. And again at 9.30 the following morning due to parental demand. Good for Him.

Filling the void now left by the change of date (or the more likely fact that Joseph, sorry, Jamie got mixed up), we will instead be treated to what sounds like an abridged version of Jack and the Beanstalk, but I can't be sure.

What I can say with some degree of certainty is that Jamie has missed out on the coveted role of The Jolly Postman and will instead take on the slightly lesser responsibility of Sitting At The Back On A Chair.

But, as I reminded him this morning, Sir David Jason wasn't the original choice to play Del Boy and he did alright.

Plus, I wouldn't want all this thespian stuff to start turning our son a bit, you know, funny. 

Thankfully there are no signs of it happening thus far.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Emma Thompson and me

I want to make a public statement of thanks to actress Emma Thompson. (She may be a avid reader of this blog. Alternatively, she might not. But it's all I've got in the locker).

I do so because yesterday she made a potentially gruesome personal situation rather funny.

To explain, I've had problems with yet another tooth. So much so that, last month, Miss Shitt - my Leeds-based dentist - said it would soon have to come out. That moment arrived at precisely 3.30 yesterday afternoon when I climbed into the big chair to meet my fate. 

Now, having had plenty of experience of these situations for reasons I'll not bore you with, I was quite relaxed about the whole thing. But, to her credit, Miss Shitt was still kind enough to ask if there was anything she could offer to ease my impending discomfort.
I asked for six pints of Guinness. She said she didn't have any in.
So I asked if she'd turn the radio up. 
"Of course," she replied. "Why?"
"Because I don't like the sound of the root fracturing when you pull it out," I explained. "Even Steve Wright is more fun to listen to than that." 
Miss Shitt dutifully obliged. 
But here's the thing. 'Great Show' Steve's guest of the day was........yes, Emma Thompson (just wanted to check if you were still with me).

Now, I like Emma Thompson and, indeed, was reminded of why when she appeared on The Graham Norton Show over the weekend. She's more than a touch mad and certainly very funny, a combination that always works for me. 
And so it was yesterday afternoon, as her voice blasted out of Miss Shitt's radio, that efforts to yank my poisoned tooth out of my head had to be frequently halted - to allow me to laugh out loud. Twice, blood was wiped from my chin.
So, if you're a nervous dental patient, let me offer you some advice.

Next time you're going in for a filling, a bit of root canal surgery or an extraction by way of metal pliers, don't worry about having your partner or your mum or a priest with you. Have Emma Thompson lined up in your headphones. 
Like me, you could even end up with a sticker.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Jesus White

Big news tonight when Jamie came home to announce that he'd been cast as Joseph in an upcoming school assembly (which thankfully parents are invited to).

As someone still coming to terms with becoming a father myself - it's only been five and a half years - my mind was yet to consider what it might be like to be a grandad.

But I'd better get on with it as I've only got until Friday week. 

Still, I've always hoped Jamie would succeed in the filly stakes and Mary will do for us. 

Jesus, welcome to the family.   (I wonder if He will look like me).

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Rugby balls

Ireland played New Zealand at rugby today.

We've never beaten the All Blacks before. Ever. Never, ever, ever. 

And, with 20 seconds to go, we were ahead by five points.

As I smugly explained to my new Kiwi pal Hayden, only a converted try would beat us.

And guess what?

The All Blacks scored a converted try.

At least the nice rugby folk of New Zealand are good winners.  I have no idea what type of losers they are.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Where's Char.....oh

We woke up this morning and couldn't find Charlotte.
We looked everywhere, but had no idea where she might be. No clue at all. None.

But then she turned up.