Saturday, 30 March 2013


Days off work have changed since the arrival of the kids, and tend not to be relaxing.  But they can still be great fun.

Yesterday was one such occasion when my pal John drove his boy Harvey, my boy Jamie and my terrified self to Sheffield to see the elaborately but appropriately entitled Walking With Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular.

And I must say, I was mightily impressed.

In the midst of lots of other big rows, we had an Allosaurus (bottom left) having a big row with a Brachiosaurus.

A couple of Torosauruses had their own big row (can you tell I bought a programme?)  

And then everyone's favourite land carnivore, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, arrived to have a big row with one of them.

Thankfully he didn't eat the bloke playing the part of the paleontologist, who I suspect he probably goes drinking with on his night off.

Anyway, a fine trip out and yes, I did have nightmares.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Curtain up on Gingerbread Squirrel

Today, Jamie and Charlotte premiered their first ever, self-scripted, self-performed Easter Show. 

It's called The Gingerbread Squirrel.

I hope you enjoy it.


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Peeping Charlie

Don't be fooled by Charlotte's angelic look.  Behind those smiling eyes, the reality is very different.

To explain, this morning I went for a shower.  I walked into the bathroom closing the door behind me.  I took my bits off (thereby getting my bits out), switched the shower on and climbed in.

Approximately three minutes later, I switched the shower off and turned to open the shower doors to grab my towel.

But someone had been there before me.

More precisely, Charlotte had somehow managed to get into the bathroom, open the shower doors - and was standing laughing, pointing at my willy.

I've never felt so small.  If you know what I mean.

Anyway, she's evil, that's what she is. Evil!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Farm fed Jamie

Jamie's off on a school trip to the farm tomorrow. And, with Vanessa in London, I've been put in sole charge of preparing his packed lunch.

My brief is to ensure I achieve the correct balance between healthy (i.e. boring) food and arguably less healthy scran. 

As you can see, there is an apple in there (BLEUGH!!!) so, for me, I've done my job.


I am used to strange sights on my journey home from work, but few stranger than this one last night.

Yes, that is a lady's handbag around that gentleman's neck. 

Seconds after my sneaky snap was taken, he stood up, got off the train and went on his merry way, appendage swinging. 

So there you are.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Beware the butter burglar

Some ******* nicked my kievs!

I suppose I'd better explain.

For months now, I've been making a family Sunday roast and forcing the kids to "enjoy" it. But not altogether successfully.

Yesterday I went for a change of tack. To demonstrate what a wonderful daddy and all round great guy I am, I decided to make them breaded chicken and chips. As I say, what a guy.

For Vanessa and myself, I chose to improvise and rustle up a couple of chicken kievs. Now, other than the Ukrainian title, this dish was not entirely foreign to me. In fact, I made it twice over Christmas - with varying results.

The first time, it went OK. Wasn't great, but no-one died.

But the second time, I made an error by cutting too deeply into the chicken and allowing all the butter to drain out into the baking tray. It was a pool of kiev and I wasn't happy. And I was left determined not to do it again, hell no.

So yesterday, I was ultra-careful with my knife. I stuffed the butter/garlic/parsley into the respective chickens' holes (as delicate a procedure as it sounds). Before doing the old egg-flour-egg-breadcrumbs routine and whacking the now fully-fledged chicken kievs into the oven for 50 minutes. Bosh!

Both emerged crisp and golden with no sign of seepage. I checked the baking tray for added piece of mind. Nope, clean as a butter-free whistle.

Five minutes later, wine poured, chicken kievs in front of us both, I sat down to savour something of a rarity; credit from the wife.

One, two, three bites in - she seemed mildly pleased. I doesn't get better than that. Verging on smug, I stuck a knife into my portion and waited for the butter to ooze out. There was no oozing. None at all. Not even a little dribble.

By now a stunned mixture of bemusement and panic, I asked Vanessa how hers was. And, by the way, was there any sign of the kiev element of the dish? She said it was very nice, but butter, garlic and parsley - there were none.

I checked the baking tray once again. There was definitely no trace of one or other of the missing kievs.

There could only be one conclusion. At some point during the 50-minute oven stage, when my back was turned - or perhaps when I was having a wee - some nasty, nasty man crept into our kitchen. He opened our oven. And he stole my ******* kievs.

What a thieving ****!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Battle of words

With each and every passing day, Jamie is meeting his match.  And she answers to the name of Charlotte.  At times she has him exhausted.

To illustrate, yesterday Jamie was on a one-infant mission to teach his sister how to say the word "baby" properly i.e. without a thick Leeds accent. 

Proper English = "bay-bee."

Leeds way = "bay-bay."

Every time she said the word to her Norwich-born mother (a little known fact), she said "bay-bee."  But every time she said it to her big bro, it was a very insistent yet smirky "bay-bay."  Credit to the boy for trying but, in the end, he sacked his crusade in favour of a lie down. 

That said, don't think that my son is adverse to using others' pronunciation of the Queen's first language as a mocking tool himself.  Like me, for example.

Shortly after his little sleep, I told him I was going to make (i.e. warm) some soup.

"Daddy, it's soup - not sup," he sneered.  "You say sup because you're from Northern Ireland.  But it's soup.  Not sup, which is just silly." And then he flounced off.

Actually, upon reflection, good work Charlotte!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Eyebrow-raising stuff

This was the result of my part heroic, part half-arsed morning effort to clear our drive in preparation for Vanessa bringing it back from where we left it last night.

Only for her then to park it around the corner at her brother Jonathan's.  Obviously I was delighted when she appeared sans car. Marriage was never meant to be easy.

As for last night, it was a predictably fun evening with a less predictable twist in the tail.

Yes, it's him again, Coach/DJ Anthony, who together with his incredibly patient wife Helen and future gymnast gold medal-winning son Conor, hosted us and the Brooks at their house.

Don't forget, you saw Conor here first.

However, as the limbo dancing continued and the beer flowed on and on, Anthony let his guard slip.

In a first for a self-styled "Bradford man" (he was born in Leeds and lives in Leeds), Anthony revealed that he "does" his eyebrows.  In fact, here he is generously allowing future beauty queen Lydia Brook to admire them up close.   

As we all will do from this point on.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Farmer Jamie

As predicted, the snow has arrived in Yorkshire - forcing me to taxi Charlotte to nursery on a backpack.  Sure, a change is as good as a rest.

Following that, it was off to see Jamie perform with his classmates at school assembly. 

I wasn't allowed to photograph/video the performance itself.  I guess some kids these days must charge David Beckham-esque amounts for their image rights, although I may be wrong.

I was therefore forced to improvise and capture Jamie on his own afterwards. 

First, here he is displaying his gingerbread man.

Stunningly lifelike, I think you'll agree, in a gingerbread man type way. 

And then he reprised his solo line in the earlier countryside-themed command performance.

For those who aren't yet fully fluent in Jamie-ish, he said: "There are three types of farm; arable, livestock and dairy." So that must be true.
John Craven, eat your heart out.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Wee snow warning

This was the scene in Morrisons in Guiseley at 6pm tonight.  It's not normally like this on a Thursday. 

I only popped in for a bag of American hard gums, which they'd run out of (so I settled for two packets of cola bottles, a packet of milk chocolate buttons, a tub of ice cream and some cut-price underarm deodorant).  

The reason for the packed aisles and rapidly-emptying shelves, was that a snow warning has been issued for Yorkshire.

And not just any snow warning, hell no.

It's a yellow snow warning.

And there's nothing that panics Yorkshire folk more than the thought of waking up in yellow snow.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Who says Parliament is boring?

On the eve of the Budget, last night a couple of familiar sights appeared on our living room telly.  I even took a picture.

Above you can see Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman.  And circled (by me) over his right shoulder is Barry's old House of Commons office.   

Here it is closer up - it's got a turret.

And why do I describe these sights as familiar, I hear you scream?
Because Barry is Vanessa's former boss, and Barry's old office is where the future Mrs White and I used to meet for our early dates (if you know what I'm saying).
The lights tended to be switched off then too.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Sniff patrol

Jamie has developed a bit of a habit of following Charlotte around the house to "check her bum" (if you know what I'm saying).  I suppose it's his way of feeling superior. 

What neither Vanessa nor I realised until tonight was that he's taken his one-man "sniff patrol" on tour.

We know this because we're not long back from his latest parents' evening.  That's Mrs Buckton (left) and Mrs Spencer above, his teacher and teaching assistant respectively. We like them.

At the end of our conversation about Jamie's academic progress - which seems to be on-track - we asked about his general behaviour.  Thankfully, there were no complaints about this either. 

But then his new little pastime was mentioned, amidst sniggers from all.

Essentially, it appears that any classroom back door activity - from simple trouser puffs to occasionally much, much worse - are duly noted and commented upon by Master White. 
Next week he's due to join his classmates on a visit to farm full of animals.  It could be a busy day for the boy.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Middle age is...

...receiving an oven glove from your wife as a belated Valentine's Day gift, and being thrilled to learn that it comes with a five-year guarantee.

Meanwhile, it's St Patrick's Day today.  To mark the occasion, here's a picture of Jamie doing a spot of Irish dancing in his new green coat.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Soon it was time for the final curtain

In what is becoming a season of firsts at Aireborough Lions RFC, a few hours ago the clubhouse played host to the inaugural Under 6s Friday Night Disco, including the debut public performance (to my knowledge) of DJ Anthony.

Look at him.  He's having the time of his life.

Once again, Jamie and Charlotte, whilst looking like their mother, proved that they share my genes - by refusing to dance for most of the evening.

But thankfully not all.

It was around 10.30pm before we got home - three hours later than their normal bedtime.  But it was well worth the limited effort required by all attendees who to a man, woman, boy and girl had a great night. 

Much more effort was required and delivered by DJ Anthony (due to morph back into Coach Anthony for training on Sunday morning) who single-handedly organised the whole shebang.     

Compliment out of the way, let's now insult our glorious leader.

Anthony took a bit of stick from me on these pages recently when he came over all stripey at a junior club committee meeting.

So there was a sense of deep anticipation as the night went on to find out what was lurking under his zipped-up leather DJ jacket.

And when that moment arrived, rugby dad/trainee coach Kris - dressed in his very own Action Man costume - came out with the line of the evening.  

And I quote: "It's not just that his shirt looks like it's made out of curtains, it looks like it's made out of shit curtains."    

And the same to you, sir.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Black magic

I'm a sucker for a "free" Guinness glass offer (with every full price 10-pack of Guinness at Morrisons - while stocks last).

Even more so when it comes in a box with the Six Nations Rugby fixtures and kick-off times printed across two sides.

And even more so multiplied by loads when, on another side, it describes - complete with rugby scrum engagement theme - "The Guinness Pouring Ritual." Classy.

So here goes.


Plant your feet squarely in front of your fridge and place your Guinness onto the shelf. Leave for a minimum of three hours to achieve the perfect serving temperature.


Lift the can and pour it into a clean Guinness glass at a 45 degree angle to ensure the perfect head.


Leave to settle, sit back and enjoy the match with your mates.

Got that?

Pure Genius (to coin a relevant phrase). I'm now off for a Touch.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Yes, he is wearing a funny hat

Tonight's historic election of Pope Francis was not a huge surprise for Jamie and Charlotte.  I say this because, as we arrived home, white smoke began pouring out of our heating system just seconds before it started billowing out of the Vatican's chimney.

But I made them watch His Holiness walk onto the balcony anyway. 

Charlotte seemed intrigued; Jamie appeared to be getting into the spirit of things by having a little pray.

Let's hope the three of them don't have nightmares.

Play your cards right

Above, dear friends, is a Nectar Card on which you can claim points for purchases at Sainsbury's and other selected retail outlets, not including Boots.

Meanwhile, below, you can see a Boots Advantage Card on which you can claim points for purchases at Boots.  And only Boots.

This means you cannot use a Boots Advantage Card to claim points on purchases at Sainbury's.

First thing this morning, I stopped off at Sainbury's to buy a packet of these.

Upon swiping them through the self-service check-out, I mistakenly tried to claim the points (not many points, considering the biscuits were on offer for £1) on my Boots Advantage Card. I was wearing a pair of these at the time and therefore not concentrating properly.

The fact that I was wearing these, with cheesy tunes blasting through them, made it impossible for me to hear the nice Sainbury's lady attempting to point out my error. Their presence in my ears also made me unaware of just how loudly I was swearing, thereby attracting her attention in the first place.

So, the moral of the story is, don't try to use your Boots Advantage Card to claim points for buying chocolate biscuits in Sainsbury's. Because you can't, even if you didn't mean to.

I hope that information is useful.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Ozzy the Night Owl

Jamie was named Star of the Week in school again last week, a proud moment for us all.

As part of his prize, he got to take Ozzy the Owl home to entertain for the weekend. 

Treats for Ozzy included a healthy breakfast on Saturday morning, and the opportunity to watch Jamie and his pals run around healthily at rugby training on Sunday.

Otherwise, Ozzy's couple of days weren't in the least bit healthy.

Firstly, at his insistence, we took him to Morrisons to get the beers in.

Before drinking a few of them whilst supporting Ireland in the Six Nations.

After Jamie went to bed, we invited our furry friend to join the adults for dinner and some wine.

Before he invited his own furry friend along for some furry fun.

Sadly, the night didn't end well for Ozzy.

Still, let's hope next weekend is equally action-packed for him, wherever that might be.

Monday, 11 March 2013

No wonder we were getting odd looks

Last time I warned that, in the months since we last saw him, Wee John had bizarrely morphed into Gerry Adams. 

As this picture graphically confirms, it wasn't a hoax.

Friday, 8 March 2013

He hasn't gone away, you know

Regular readers of this rubbish will be well-versed in the teeny tiny exploits of Wee John, someone we've not heard from for a while.

Well, I have some news about His Weeness, some good, some bad.

The good news is that he's not actually dead, so a good start.

More negatively, he's making his triumphant return to Guiseley this weekend.

The even worse news - nothing could possibly be worse than this - is that he's grown a classic Gerry Adams replica beard.

What inspired him to do such a thing is as yet unknown. But if he wants to look like a retro Gerry Adams, then I'll sure as hell treat him like a retro Gerry Adams.

So, for the 36 hours he's in our custody, Wee John will be subjected to regular intensive and sustained periods of questioning interspersed with random acts of ritual torture, until he explains what prompted him to go for the throwback Volunteer look.  Or until he shaves it off.

Let's hope he doesn't try to blow up my garden shed before he leaves.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

We look like we're at a wedding

The Prime Minister flew into Keighley today to deliver a big speech on the economy.  It's dominated my world for the past seven days but, I'm relieved to say, it came and went without a hitch.

On such occasions, I like to stay behind the camera.

But that did not stop the ITV News crew pointing their own camera at me and my friends (from left to right) David, Rebecca and Naz.

At least my mum now knows I was there.

Thanks to my good pal Rachel for sending me the pic.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Life's a bitch for Boris the Dog

Meet Boris the Dog. He's a dog. (The clues are there).

But Boris is not just any dog. Hell no. He's my mum's dog. This has traditionally presented poor Boris with a number of special challenges. But never more so than in recent times when our joint mum bought him a new collar.

There was a reason for her purchase. She had been away for a few days, Boris had barked a lot in her absence and a nasty neighbour took offence. Something had to be done.

So my, sorry, our mum bought Boris/my half-brother a new collar; a new collar that gives him an electric shock every time he barks.

Boris doesn't bark a lot any more.

Poor Boris the Dog.

UPDATE 2237: Vanessa has just reminded me of Jamie's revamped Boris impression, developed during our recent trip back across the Irish Sea.

It goes like this: "Woof.....OW!!.....Woof.....OW!!"

Poor Boris the Dog.