Thursday, 31 January 2013

Rugby jubbly

This week I've had a few rugby-themed days with hopefully many more to come, and I like it.

First, on Sunday, the snow-beaten micro rugby players of Aireborough Lions RUFC were driven indoors.  But not to a cold, draughty, non-descript sports hall. Hell no. Being the tough kids that they are, it was a Thai kick-boxing club for them, with Coach Anthony in the Mr Myagi role.  

And, shock of all shocks, Jamie was awarded the player of the week trophy.  I was - and remain - very proud.

We move on to Sunday evening and the inaugural Micro Rugby Dads Polite Conversation and Pool Evening which, although small in scale (from acorns become an oak), still led to one of the longest Mondays I can barely remember (if you know what I'm saying).

And then there was yesterday and the news that Ulster Rugby's Heineken Cup quarter-final will be played at Twickenham in front of 82,000 fans (of whom around 60,000 are likely to be supporting the team with the Red Hand on their shirts).  Other than my own wedding (which I have to say), I can think of few one-off events I have looked forward to more.  My train tickets are already booked.

Tonight, I went along to the AGM of the umbrella organisation which looks after the premises used by Aireborough RUFC.  Too injured/old to play myself, I want to find another active role in the game and perhaps this club is where I can inject something of use.  I'll keep you informed on that.

And, finally (as well it might be), there's Saturday to look forward to and the Six Nations Championship which begins with Ireland's trip to Wales.  As fortune would have it, we Whites were due to drive across to Wrexham to meet our good friends Louise and Tim's new arrival.  So why not time our sojourn to enable Tim and I to watch the big game in an abuse-filled Welsh hostelry?  No reason whatsoever.  We'll set off early.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Language lesson

Maybe one for the purists this, but last night I walked into the bathroom to find Jamie giving Charlotte her first formal English lesson.

Next time - Spanish.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

To Guiseley and beyond

With the Yorkshire snow coming down in feet rather than inches - above you can see the scene in our back garden first thing this morning - last night we decided to organise an indoor superhero face-off.

Buzz Lightyear won.  

Friday, 25 January 2013

It's all downhill when you're two

As the snow begins to fall on West Yorkshire once again, I wanted to show you a very short video clip of Charlotte's first solo sledge run last Saturday morning.  

Responsible parents are boring. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Anyone got Matt Smith's number?

This was the scene from my bedroom window this morning.  Other than a bit of snow, it appears to include nothing out of the ordinary.

However, if you look closely, you will see a snow-covered car parked on the road.

I don't know if you happen to live with a four-year-old boy with a Doctor Who obsession.  But if you do, you will no doubt have seen the Christmas Day edition featuring the scary snowmen.

Just like this one, in fact.

Well, going back to that car, I think you need to have a closer look.

I've decided not to tell Jamie.  But I for one will not sleep tonight.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow point

I cleared all the snow off our driveway tonight.

I did so for four principal reasons:
  1. I was incredibly bored;
  2. I hadn't done any exercise for a week; 
  3. Peer pressure, as our neighbours on either side had already cleared theirs (the one on the right into our front garden); and
  4. My father-in-law Mike told me (with some justification) that I was a big wuss for not have done so. 
My course of action was a first for me, as I've never previously seen the point.

The fact that it has just started snowing again tells you why.

Monday, 21 January 2013


There was a bit more snow in Guiseley last night.  Actually, about seven inches more. There used to be a main street on the left.

This posed a series of challenges - not least, how best to get Jamie to school.  But the answer was soon obvious.  By sledge of course.  

And how would Grandad Geoff get Charlotte to Tumble Town for some indoor, hardcore play?

By sledge of course.

£8.99 has never been better spent.

Plus, our back garden isn't big enough to land a helicopter.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


This was the scene at Aireborough Rugby Club this morning where rugby practice was ditched in favour of sledging and snowball fights.

Jamie managed to squeeze himself into a Lydia and Euan sandwich.

Meanwhile, the White women ploughed their own snowy furrow.

Yesterday was Snowman In The Garden Day.  But, on reflection, I kind of regret capturing our particular snowman from the angle that I did (if you know what I'm saying).

Thankfully this one is a little more family album-friendly.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Snow way

Last night I referred to the duty BBC weatherman's call that the whole of Great Britain was set to drown in snow tomorrow whilst Northern Ireland bathed under Caribbean-like rays.

But tonight's man must have read this bloody awful blog.


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Whither the weather

A couple wintry weather-themed sightings that I wanted to share with you.

First, I appreciate that we're living in a time of austerity, but I hadn't realised that the cutbacks had hit gritting services in Guiseley quite so badly.  This hi-tech piece of machinery meandered past me at 2mph early this morning.

The White Family Salt Cellar is now under lock and key in case it's requisitioned.

Second, I don't know if you caught the weather forecast on tonight's BBC Six O'Clock News.  But when it came to Friday's outlook, I kind of got the impression that the duty weatherman was covering all eventualities regarding what might happen on the British mainland.

If you're a Northern Ireland-based licence fee payer and a flake of snow falls there, you should sue.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


"Oh my God!" was Jamie's response this evening when I showed him a picture of a Scooby Doo monster he hadn't seen before.

"You can't say that!"  I replied with genuine alarm to my son (4).  "Where did you learn that?!"

"At school," he said. "Lots of people say that at school."  

"Well you don't say it!" I fired back.

Jamie's unfortunate outburst came in the wake of a not dissimilar incident last week when, after finding a previously undiscovered label inside his school jumper, he shrieked:  "What the hell is that?!"

Again, I launched an immediate protest/enquiry which soon revealed that he'd heard this particular unwanted phrase on Doctor Who.  Again, something of a relief to me.

I say this because, since becoming a dad, I have tried incredibly hard not to swear in front of the kids - and generally succeeding.  (Believe me, I make up for it when they're not around).

But my own father was not so discreet, as a famous (in our family) episode involving my eldest sister proved.

Jacquie was very young and learning to talk.  And my mum, who has always been a whizz with a needle and thread, shoved her into a new homecrafted dress.  It may (or may not) have looked like the one Charlotte wore on Christmas Day.

Jacquie was then placed in front of a mirror and asked for her opinion of her new garment.

"It's f***ing lovely," she replied.  

I'm sure it was.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Snow kidding


This was the scene outside Chez White earlier today - if you look very closely, you can see it's been snowing.

Charlotte can't remember having witnessed anything like it before.

So she insisted on taking Baby outside for a push and a closer look.

But even that wasn't the most startling sight of the day thus far.

That was when I noticed our car had grown a moustache.  

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Spit the Dad

As I write, the snow is fast approaching Yorkshire but hasn't quite arrived.

But as I stood alongside another rugby dad at micro rugby first thing this morning, it appeared that the damp stuff had indeed appeared overhead.

My nameless pal was talking about something or other when, mid-sentence, he interrupted his flow to announce that the first snowflake had landed on his face.

It hadn't.

I had tried to make a possibly crucial intervention but, instead of wisdom shooting out of my mouth, some spit did.

I didn't fess up and simply nodded and expressed regret that I hadn't brought snow shoes for the long trek home.

Say nothing.

Cowgirl Charlotte

I took a little video of Jamie and Charlotte on the seesaw the other day, and I've just watched it back.

Two things strike me. 

First, is how close Charlotte was to falling off (which, had she done so, would obviously have been my fault.  Ahem).

Second, towards the end, she manages to hold on with just one hand. Should her quest to be Britain's second female prime minister ever flounder, a career in rodeo most definitely awaits her.

Have a look if you're bored. 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Put down for the Ulsterman

I have good reason to believe that an Ulster Rugby shirt, my belated Christmas present to myself, has arrived in Guiseley just waiting for me to climb into it later this evening.  

(I was originally going to get the black version but, having seen one when I was home a few weeks ago, I was put off by its high Lycra content.  A 40-year-old man should not be seen in Lycra, in my view.  As an aside, Vanessa wasn't convinced I should get a white one either - which isn't made of Lycra - as it might make me look a bit "pasty."  What?  With my Mediterranean skin? The cheek of it).  

As luck would have it, the shirt's arrival coincides with Ulster's Heineken Cup game tonight (Sky Sports 1, kick-off 8pm), enabling me to pretend I'm on the team.  Excellent.     

Less positive is the fact that it appears I'm losing my battle to persuade(/coerce) Jamie to consider himself a fully-fledged Ulsterman.

This horrifying discovery was made yesterday while I was him walking to school.

"Daddy, I can't be an Ulsterman," announced White Junior

"Oh, and why would that be?" I replied with alarm

"Because I don't say shar,  I say shower.  Only Ulstermen say shar, not shower, because they don't speak properly.  That's why I can't be an Ulsterman."

It's my intention to give the impudent little so-and-so a very cold shar before the week is properly at an end.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Teetotal toddler

You may or may not be one of those folk who chose to give up alcohol for January.  And if you were but no longer are, it's probably because you read an article in today's Daily Mail which revealed that such a course of action may be bad for you.

Which was why I had a drink tonight.

Meanwhile, poor Charlotte has no choice in the matter.  She's still not tip top, bless her, and is on medication.

Even worse, she's banned from drinking alcohol (and/or driving) until she's finished the course.

Shit happens.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Leaving his Mark

As a proud native of Northern Ireland, the ongoing nightly footage of flag-related rioting in Belfast has annoyed me intensely.

Something that is often overlooked in such circumstances is the role played by the brave news men and women who bring us the sights and sounds of these difficult stories.

One of them is BBC Ireland correspondent Mark Simpson, for me, the best of them all.

Mark has that rare ability of being able to find the lighter side of even the most depressing of tales - a talent he has had to rely on all too often when covering stories north of the border.  And today, yet again, Mark hit the bullseye when he Tweeted this:

"Loyalist devotion to the union flag as never seen before. The most British bathroom in east Belfast."  

Accompanied by this:


Monday, 7 January 2013

A welcome sign

The sight of an orange disabled parking sign outside your local Marks & Spencer is not one you would normally expect to bring a smile to your face.

But on the first Monday back to work after the holidays, it worked for me as I walked home through Guiseley.

The reason?  A few weeks ago, when we were building up to Christmas and everyone was cheery, Jamie noticed the sign you can see above.  And he had a question.


"Yes, Jamie?"

"Why is there a picture up there of someone sitting on the toilet?"  

Come on now - the weekend will be with us before we know it.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Calendar boy

My good friends Dean Kelly and Steve Barr got in touch with me before Christmas to complain at the fact that I featured in the official 2013 Coleraine FC official calendar (and they didn't), despite having attended only three games in 2012.  (Some people can be so bitter).  So I ordered one online.  And even phoned my dad in case he wanted to be proud.

March/April was my page and, when my calendar arrived, I opened it with a sense of nervous anticipation/unbridled excitement. (I also bought a key ring and a mug).

And, well, I should've known.  I'm almost sure I've been captured more flatteringly than this.  

Friday, 4 January 2013

Who's in the hat

The final piece of Jamie's Christmas jigsaw was put in place this morning when I found Doctor Who in Toymaster, Keighley.
I have spent much of the last 10 days trying to track him down him in Guiseley, Leeds, Shipley and Otley, and it was a relief to finally lay my hands on him.
However, as I walked out of the shop clutching my prize, I had a thought. 
My frustrations can be nothing compared to what the Daleks and Cybermen must go through.  They've been chasing the Doctor for thousands of years and, other than once a series, they can never find him.  And when they do, he escapes.

I'll have to remember to tell Jamie how privileged he now is.  And warn him not to let his hero enter the TARDIS alone.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Date line

Vanessa came home last night clutching a box of dates - I hate dates - one of which Charlotte managed to get her paws on and refused to give up.   

"You're not taking a date to bed," Vanessa announced.

Too right.  Not until she's at least 35.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A new resolve


Two days into 2013, how are you getting with your New Year's resolutions?

I'm doing OK, thanks for asking.  But that might have something to do with the nature of my primary goal. 

Giving up smoking isn't for me, mainly because I've never smoked. 

Abstain from drinking?  Bugger off, not even for January.  (Indeed, as some wise person once told me, January is the month when alcohol is needed most).

No, my main resolution for 2013 is to watch more (not necessarily very good) films that you've probably seen and I never have.  

In the last 72 hours (I started a day early) I've sat through The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz and Up. 

Next on my list are Invictus and Senna.  And then I might even get round to watching a James Bond flick - I can only recall ever seeing one. 

What I gain from all of this, I'm not quite sure.  Perhaps I'll end up as a director.  But I probably won't.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Christmas nuts

I'm sure I'm not alone in having received some excellent Christmas presents in the year just gone.  But I may well be alone in having received two particular gifts, both from my sister Jacquie and both with what might be described as a political theme. 

The first is Shankill Road orange chocolate.

As it says on the wrapper: "If the kerbstones are red, white and blue and you can see Loyalist murals and Union Jacks, then you're on the Shankill Road."  Indeed.  And if you're eating chocolate while you're there, orange would certainly be the flavour of local choice.

Present number two is a Mrs Thatcher nutcracker. 

And again I quote: "She's not called the Iron Lady for nothing you know.  This ball breaking little invention is the perfect gift for those nutty enough to enjoy this sort of gadget.  Cracking nuts has never been so fun, this is the perfect party political accessory for people with a cracking sense of humour.  Simply place your nuts between her legs and squeeze."
So there you are.