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.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Talking boobies

I was watching a random music channel with Charlotte on Sunday evening when Cerys Matthews and Tom Jones appeared on screen singing their big(gish) hit, "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

Given that it was released a little before her era, Charlotte asked me to tell her who the heck these Welshies were. 

"The scary-looking lady with the big teeth, she's called Cerys," I said. "And the thrusting gentleman with the silly beard who's staring at her chest, he's called Tom." 

"Oh. Does Cerys have boobies?" asked Charlotte, whilst simultaneously lifting up her pyjama top to see if she had any yet.

"She does, yes," I replied. "Tom could've told you that." 

"Oh. Does Tom have boobies too?" Charlotte continued. 

"He's a 73-year-old man," I explained, "of course he does."

And here's the proof.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Little Lord Blowhard

Somebody gave Jamie a whistle at micro rugby yesterday, a development I was unaware of. 

That was until around 6.30 this morning when he arrived in our bedroom to deliver a brief statement, as follows: 

"I've got a whistle.  When I blow my whistle, that means I want something."

Sometimes, as a parent, you question whether you've got everything right. 

This morning, at around 6.30, Vanessa and I questioned whether we'd got everything right.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Running Van

Who in the name of Paula Radcliffe is that, I hear you cry?!

Well, believe or believe not, it's Vanessa hurtling her way towards the Leeds Abbey Dash finish line early this morning.  Yes, Mrs W has been bitten by that nasty running bug too and this was her virgin 10k race.

And, get this, she actually won her category!  Really.  She was indeed the first Vanessa White over the line which, in a race of 12,000, is quite some achievement - particularly when there were no other Vanessa Whites in the field to drive her on. 

I'm genuinely very proud and, as the first (and also only) Barry White home, we are just about to kick off a double family celebration. 

Not that our offspring are that arsed (although they will be when they find out we have chocolate cake)

In the midst of all this happiness, there was one unfortunate aspect of today.  Jamie and Charlotte's Auntie Vicky - who was the driving force for us to enter - was sadly unable to compete herself, after rupturing her calf muscle early last week.

But, Vicky being Vicky, she still made it along to cheer us all home.

And that "us" included Vicky's sister Sam, who's one of those "proper" runners.  Sam set off with a stated aim of breaking the 45 minute barrier, which is quite some goal.  But, to her immense credit,  she did it with seconds to spare.

Naturally, she was incredibly thrilled and extremely excited. 

In fact, so much so, that she managed to wet herself as she crossed the line.

Well done Sam, and thanks to Vicky for giving me family permission to take the p*ss out of her big sister (not that could be any left, according to some people in the crowd).    

Friday, 15 November 2013

Forgetting the bleeding obvious

I haven't had a shower today (although, for the record, I have changed my pants).

Yes, I'm a smellbag and it's all my fault. 

Last night, with winter closing in, I decided the time had come to bleed our radiators.

So I got my little key out and, as they say in dearest Coleraine, I footered.

I'm such a powerhouse that I couldn't actually manage to turn the little nut thing in all of the radiators downstairs.  But the ones I did manage to crank open seemed OK to my layman's eye.  Well done me. 

Then I went upstairs and had a bash at the bathroom radiator.  Now, as I understand it, you're supposed to let any air out until you get a little spit of water, and then you stop.  The radiators downstairs let little or no air out.  But the bathroom radiator seemed to have enough puff in it to fill a hot air balloon.

I didn't feel overly concerned by this unexpected development, particularly as some water did finally present itself. 

Next was Jamie's room and, again, it seemed to have much more air in it than warmth.  A bit like Victoria Beckham, you might say. 

In fact, a good two minutes later, the gas was still shooting out.  And then it stopped - but no water followed.  Nothing, nada, nuke.

This did concern me a little more, so I bravely chose to give up and watch some telly instead.  That was much more fun. (Did you see the blonde one from Abba singing with Gary Barlow?  And Barry Manilow.  Yes folks, you can be called Barry and still be a bit cool, although not much).

Anyway, some hours later, with radiators long forgotten and just as I was considering hitting the pit, Vanessa arrived to inform me that there was no hot water.  A quick inspection (followed by several expletives) revealed that this was because the boiler wasn't working.  Oh joy. 

My first reaction was to think, "I can fix this!"  And then it dawned on me. 

We'd been here before.  I'd had a go at bleeding our radiators last year.  And guess what happened?  Yup, I knacked the boiler. 

Then I had a crack at fixing it.  And guess what happened?  That's right, I failed dismally and had to call the plumber. 

And what did the plumber tell me?  You've got it: "Don't ever touch the boiler again, Barry."

If you don't believe me, have a look at THIS.  

I had genuinely forgotten about the entire episode - and I haven't even had therapy. What a loon. 

Mark (aka Mr Water) was therefore called back this morning (after I'd gone to work, hence no shower) to, once more, fix the boiler and bleed the radiators.  Perhaps I should read this blog more often.

Tomorrow morning, first thing, I'm due to launch an attempt at wallpapering.  Really.

Happy weekend.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Up, up - and away with you

It was parents' evening at Jamie's school yesterday, and the feedback we received was positive.  Good for him.

However, one comment made took me back a couple of weeks to the somewhat underwhelming Doctor Who exhibition in Bradford. 

One of Jamie's teachers said last night that she was impressed by his enthusiasm, including his wont to raise his hand in class to answer questions. 

This reminded me that he'd stuck his waver up at the Doctor Who exhibition when a guide asked if anyone knew how Daleks got upstairs.

"They fly!" Jamie barked with an accompanying skip, causing me to smile subtly with fatherly pride.

"No, they use CGI," replied the guide.
"Does anyone know what CGI stands for?"
Some geek mumbled the answer.
"That's right, its computer generated imagery," our hostess continued. "They're not really flying at all!"
It must be great fun round her house on Christmas Eve.  

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Midnight reception

I was in London last night and got to my hotel very late, principally because I couldn't find it. (It was dark).

When I finally made it through the front door (which itself was difficult to locate), I was greeted by the sight of a manically smiling male receptionist.

"Ah, Mr White!" he enthused, like a beaming Bond villain.

"Er, yes, hello," I replied in a startled manner. "How did you know it was me?"

"You're the last one!" 

Fair play to the boy. It was good of him to wait up.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Dozy Dad

Jamie had a fine day today.

First, he received a star from his teacher for his best ever reading. 

And then, after school, he was praised by his swimming instructor for having his best ever lesson. 

All good stuff. 

Walking home from swimming class under a pitch black sky, he looked up and enquired where the sun had gone.

"It's asleep," I said, briefly forgetting he's no longer four weeks old.

"No it's not," he retorted.  "It's in another country."

I got what I deserved.   In a weak attempt to move on, I attempted flattery.

"You know everything, son," I grovelled.

"No I don't," Jamie shot back.  "I don't know who made God.  No-one does."  

Maybe I'll get him to help me with my homework tonight, just as soon as he's finished his own.  

Friday, 8 November 2013

Civil Saturday

Vanessa and I are off to North Yorkshire in the morning to attend a civil partnership ceremony and shindig.  

I've been on many all-day drinking sessions over the years (a major contributor to the fact that I now look knackered).  But the 14 hours of alcohol imbibing on offer tomorrow is a new one. 

That's right, it will be my first all-gayer.

I'll fill you in when we get back.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

FLASH! BANG! (Is it over yet?)

It was Bonfire Night in England last night (if you live here, you'll probably have the cold to prove it). 

However, back in Northern Ireland, (remember, remember the) 5th November is not such a big deal.

One reason is that, in the latter, you can normally find a bonfire on any night of the week (other than 5th November)

Also, firework restrictions remain in place in the proud Province and sparklers can lose their appeal after the third packet.
But on this side of the water, dads of all levels of bravery/foolhardiness were being forced to put their physical features at risk for the amusement of their children.

That said, it was actually on Sunday evening (we'd seen the forecast for last night) that my mate Andy's distinguishing marks, together with my own, were laid on the line for our sprogs (and wives). 

And I am pleased, nay, proud to report that we managed to avoid grave disfiguration (with Jamie and Charlotte ordered to stay in the Royal Box until the end).
With those challenges successfully overcome, we can now begin to prepare for the really big show - a mere seven weeks from today. 

So before the supermarkets and TV music channels beat me to it, Season's Greetings to one and all.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Broken Barry

There must be something in my beer at the moment, because things keep going wrong with my temple-like body. 

In the wake of my recent hugely attractive bout of gastroenteritis, I developed traffic light finger - I mentioned at the weekend that there was a problem. 

I say traffic light finger because it started off red, went very yellow and - after catching it on the train on the way home tonight, causing seepage - it's now gone green.  I think that's probably a good sign.

Last week, I was forced to go to the doctor with what I suspect is a damaged stomach muscle, a remnant of my failed attempt to win the Great North Run. The doctor had a poke, told me he had absolutely no idea what was wrong and sent me home to die.  Possibly.

And before that, I had - and still have - an abscess on my tooth.  So I went to see my dentist, Miss Shitt.  She too had a poke, said the tooth would have to come out -  and also sent me home to die. 

A fun aside from my ongoing travails was when Miss Shitt noticed my new gnashers.  If you've read my pointless dribblings for an extended stretch, you may know that I've travelled back home to Coleraine several times over the past 18 months to see my pals Robert and Rhonda and get a lot of dental work done. 

Despite being in to see her several times over this period, I've managed to keep all of this secret from Miss Shitt.  But, when I saw her a fortnight ago, she noticed.  And she was shocked. So she asked where my new teeth came from. I told her they'd grown back.  She didn't believe me.  So I told her the truth.  She wasn't happy.  That might explain why she sent me home to die.

Despite all of the above, I hope to be around for a little while yet.      

Monday, 4 November 2013

A brush with the future

At the ripe old age of two years and 10 months, our Charlotte is showing signs of transforming into a little "minx." (This is a family blog so I'm being careful with my choice of words).

A particularly dramatic demonstration of this came on Saturday evening at teeth cleaning time.

As ever when "time for bed" is called (and the strops have ended), there is a mad dash upstairs to see who can be first to the bathroom sink. 

In normal race conditions, it tends to be Jamie. And so it was again on Saturday. But this time his little sister had a plan.

Perched atop of his little plastic stage, Jamie committed the cardinal error of being smug. And Charlotte wasn't having any of that nonsense. Hell no bro. Action was required. And action was duly taken. 

A split second later, with one swift yet clinical yank, Jamie's pyjama bottoms were instantly downgraded to a pair of ankle warmers. 

Cue two contrasting displays of emotion; Charlotte in barefaced triumph, Jamie in bare-arsed meltdown. 

Looking ahead, I now fear for the boy. In fact, I fear for every boy - which is kind of reassuring from a father's point of view. 

I would love to tell her how both amused and proud I was by what she did, but I can't. Because I might be next in her sights.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Have you heard the one about the Irish rugby league team?

You could be forgiven for not knowing that Ireland has its own rugby league team.   One reason for this would be that it doesn't really. 

In reality, rugby league is only played in parts of England, most of Australia, bits of New Zealand, and some of France - plus all of Papua New Guinea where it's the national sport.  (Stick with me and you'll learn stuff).

Absolutely nowhere, to my knowledge, is it played in Ireland.  In fact, despite being a rugby fan for all of my life, I have only ever encountered one Irish rugby league player - who then chose to play rugby union instead.

However, with a Rugby League World Cup to put on, it was vital to have some other teams for Papua New Guinea and co to play.  Step forward Ireland. 

So yesterday, my rugby dad mates Dublin Dan and Very Welsh Dylan went to Huddersfield to cheer on the boys in green against England.

(You've got to get into the spirit of these things).

England managed build up a narrow 30 point lead by half-time after 106 lucky bounces of the ball.

But Ireland rallied and managed to escape with a mere 42-0 deficit by the time the final whistle blew.

And a fun time was most certainly had by all, especially Grubber the Bear who appeared to have had more beer than the other 24,000 of us put together.

Commenting afterwards, Irish skipper Pat Richards said: "Strewth mate, I thought the result was fair dinkum against a bunch of bloody ripper Poms, cobber." 
Pat is due fly back home after Ireland's final group game next weekend.
I have no idea where that might be.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The finger of fate?

"Don't wee in your pants, wee on the potty."

Those were Charlotte's first words of the day, her eyes still half-shut.  Something for us all to think about there, I'd say.

Meanwhile, I'm now into day four of having a sore finger.

Having not bashed it to my knowledge - it's not even swollen up - I've had to take to Google in an attempt to diagnose what the problem might be.  And I've narrowed it down to three possibilities:
  1. Frostbite
  2. Scurvy
  3. Leprosy
Now, it doesn't appear to me that all of these conditions of the finger are killers.  So I may have a chance.

But deep down, I kind of know that this could be the end.

Do please keep your fingers crossed for me, because I'm having great trouble crossing mine. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Pleasant Valley Friday

We had a family day out at Lightwater Valley theme park in North Yorkshire today, my first ever visit although the other three clan members had been before (I'm such a victim). 
And it was proper fun.  Almost all of the time. 
The low point for me wasn't at this stage of Jamie's and my ascent up the Trauma Tower.
 No, it was around about now. 

I nearly soiled myself.

Meanwhile, the ladies adopted a much more gentile approach to proceedings.

The high points?  Two I'd say.

The first was when our "model children" (aye, right) were locked into a Ferris Wheel capsule.

If only they'd sold them in the souvenir shop.  I would've got one in the boot, on the roof - even carried it home.  But sadly they didn't have any in. 

The second high point was only a fantasy, in truth. 

We were in the newly-opened Angry Birds Activity Park.  And, well, the big catapult wasn't real.