The Bedroom Compost Bin

Banana SkinsI have a feeling I may regret this post.

After twenty odd years of marriage I should know better. But that’s the problem with writers. They have to express their feelings. Even if there’s a price to pay. Which there will be…

Jane was away for the night: just Ben and me at home. I always feel under pressure when my wife is away. The house needs to be tidy when she comes home. But I don’t feel the house needs to be tidy when she’s at home. I don’t think you need a psychologist to work that one out… [Read more…]

Manners Maketh Men. And Husbands…

Good MannersMuch as it may amaze my teenage children I was once attractive to women. (“What did their guide dogs think of you, Dad?”)

Yep, I had girlfriends before I married Jane. And very occasionally I’ll bump into one of them. And after about five minutes of the conversation they’ll sigh nostalgically…

No, not about me.

“Ah,” they’ll say lovingly, “Your Dad was such a gentleman. He was so lovely.” [Read more…]

The Perfect Bacon Sandwich

About two minutes' worth if you're a 16 year old boy...

About two minutes’ worth if you’re a 16 year old boy…

I’ve been a Dad for 21 years – in that time I’ve tried to give my children the benefit of my accumulated knowledge and wisdom. And now it’s time to share it with the world.

There’s one subject on which I am an absolute authority. Blogging? Well yes, surely the invitation to become Professor of Blogging and Social Media Sciences at one of our leading universities must be in the post by now. But there’s one more subject where I excel: where my children have had the chance to learn at the feet – or more correctly, the grill – of a master. [Read more…]

Should I Kiss my Sons?

photo (13)Sorry about this, but I’m going to have a rant. I know this blog is supposed to be light-hearted; five minutes mild amusement in the middle of a stressful day and all that. But I need to have a rant.

And the rant is about kissing. Specifically, men kissing their sons.

I went into town on Saturday. Popped in to Ben before I went. Quietly, obviously. Can’t disturb a man when he’s killing aliens. “See you later,” I said. “Just going into town.” And I bent down and kissed the top of his head. “Love you lots,” I said and went. [Read more…]

In Praise of Scabs

My wife eventually decided this was the best medicine...

My wife eventually decided this was the best medicine…

Let’s start off with the good news. My wife can still eat. She can still focus on the X-Factor. Her ankles seem to be working.

That’s pretty much where it ends. She doesn’t feel well. Coming down with something: head, shoulders, back, stomach… They all ache.

Of course, I am the very embodiment of the solicitous carer. I flutter back and forth with cups of tea, painkillers and those pillows you whack in the microwave and then wrap round your neck.

But there’s nothing I can do about her knee. [Read more…]

On Dating. Or Not…

Old fashioned phoneScene: The Hall. Lounge and dining room opening off. Mid 70’s/early 80’s décor. A bookcase largely filled with Reader’s Digest editions. An atlas. The Bible. An encyclopaedia. There is a telephone table with a two-tone grey telephone. On a shelf underneath are a phone directory and a three inch thick Yellow Pages.

A boy enters. He is 14 or 15. He wears a mustard polo-neck and brown corduroy trousers. He looks around furtively. Unbeknown to him his father is listening in the lounge. His mother is in the dining room – also listening. Nervously he picks up the phone. He puts it down. He counts to three. Grabs the phone: rapidly dials a number. [Read more…]

Alone with my Friends

Red Wine200 miles there, 200 miles back and Tom is safely delivered to university. Jessica went weeks ago – and that’s the last we’ll see of them until Christmas.

Miss them? Of course I’ll miss them. Astonishingly we appear not to have done what Master Larkin suggested and they’re rather pleasant young adults. Intelligent, witty (yes, obviously with added sarcasm) and good company round the dinner table.

But sadly, far too fond of my wine. [Read more…]

The Geometry Set Turns Full Circle

Somewhere around Year Three, I think...

Somewhere around Year Three, I think…

It starts on day one. The day you hold your child’s hand, kiss her, shed a tear, kiss her again and tell her, “You are the cutest button in the universe and Mummy and Daddy love you squillions.” Then you kiss her again because it’s so long since the last one and hand her over to school. But not before saying…

“There, you’ve got your school bag. And your snack. And your beautiful smile that all your teachers are going to love so much.” And for the next 2,500 school days the die is cast… [Read more…]

Billy Two Mates

Welcome to the 20th Century...

Welcome to the 20th Century…

I suppose he’s out there somewhere. The man – and it’s an absolute certainty that it’s a man – who buttonholes you at a party, eyes shining with the fervour of the true believer and says, “I’m absolutely passionate about LinkedIn.”

Along with “I missed my children growing up” that must be one of the saddest statements a man can make. But there you go; there are plenty of them. 500+ connections and a gold star for sending ‘networking messages.’ Or spam, as normal people call them. [Read more…]

The Shaving Cream Always Rises

suribachi_shaving_bowl_1tThere aren’t going to be many more of these rite of passage moments so I’d better make the most of this one…

The shadow on my youngest son’s upper lip has been growing darker. Nope, it’s never going to rival Jessica’s tattoo and tongue-stud in the school disapproval stakes – but it’s time to teach Ben how to shave.

And I’m determined to do it.

Somehow, I kept missing out with Tom. How babies are made? School did that one. Dating girls? 10,000 episodes of Friends. And, “Have you started shaving?” I asked one morning. [Read more…]