Lack of Lamb

The picture I shouldn't have tweeted...

The picture I shouldn’t have tweeted…

Not for the first time in my life I’ve been thinking about food. And wine.

Or rather, the lack of it.

Sadly, I’m on a diet. There’s no evidence of it in North Yorkshire but I have to assume that summer is coming. Which will mean the annual squabble between the waistband of my shorts and a winter’s over-indulgence.

Assuming I have any shorts left… [Read more…]

Peeing in the Ball Pool

Ball Pool“Do you think he’ll be alright?”

“I don’t know. It looks deep. Has a child ever drowned in a ball pool?”

“You stand there and watch him. Jessica’s filled her damn nappy again.”

Center Parcs. 1996. Tom was two: our eldest, and everything was new. Worry? Of course we worried. Hadn’t we found him biting a biscuit tin at the weekend? And some paint had gone in his mouth. Why hadn’t they invented Google yet? Metal poisoning and brain damage from a biscuit tin: a blindingly obvious search term. [Read more…]

It’s a Dog’s Life…

What I want to see on the dog walk...

What I want to see on the dog walk…

“No!” I cried. You can’t do this to me! You can’t treat me this way. Not after all I’ve done for you!”

It didn’t make a jot of difference. The dog carried on rolling in… stuff. Choose your own word. Four letters will do.

Certain things in life can be relied on. Night follows day. Spring finally arrives every year. So far those two seem to be working out. But want something you really can rely on? Something that will last for all eternity and well beyond?

Give a spaniel a bath… [Read more…]

Four Bottles of Bud and a Toothbrush

photo (18)“Mum, Dad,” my youngest son says as he polishes off a large mouthful of bacon sandwich, “This would be a good time to ask you for something wouldn’t it?”

We’re back home. 9:30 at night. And we’re celebrating. Victory for Ben and his team in the public speaking competition. Jane and I are basking in the warm glow of our child’s achievement.

So yes, of course it would. Why is it that my other two children never mastered this? Surely knowing when to ask your parents for something is the sort of basic life skill that schools should teach in PHSE – or whatever common sense and sex is called this week? [Read more…]

A Middle Aged Man’s Fancy

Matures early: crops heavily. No further comment...

Matures early: crops heavily. No further comment…

It’s Valentine’s Day. 8am. Walking the dog on the beach. And here I am striding along in just a sweatshirt, coat left resolutely in the car.

So it must be Spring.

A point I made to my wife. When she eventually woke up of course.

“When do we start planting things?” I said.

I’ll spare you her reply. But yes, you read it right. No longer will I just wander into the garden to see what’s ripe enough to eat. No longer will I see it as somewhere to sit with a beer; somewhere to close my eyes and do some ‘creative thinking…’ [Read more…]

The Beloved Daughter Arrives…

And two years later...

And two years later…

I was chatting to a friend of mine. His wife is expecting their first child.

“Do you know what it is?”

“Yeah, we’re having a little girl.”

And I got all misty-eyed. And drifted back in time. About 19½ years back in time…

“How are you feeling?”

“Tired. Hot. Fed up. Thinking it would be a good idea if men gave birth.”

“We wouldn’t be here if men gave birth. If men gave birth every family would have one child.”

“Well, I’m fed up. Nine months is too long.” [Read more…]

Can Men Multitask?

Multitasking“I thought you were doing your homework?” I said to Ben as he came downstairs.

“I am. But I’m upstairs and my bag is downstairs.”

“Well why didn’t you take it up with you five minutes ago?”

He sighed. “Really, Dad. I have to deal with children all day. I don’t need it when I come home.”

He re-fuelled and went back upstairs. I went back to my red wine. And my will power. [Read more…]

The Lonely Wino

The wife's favourite. To be drunk only if you have a death wish...

The wife’s favourite. To be drunk only if you have a death wish…

My lovely wife was away at a conference. So the good news was I could please myself. The bad news was that the kitchen needed tidying. Urgently. As in, before tomorrow.

I debated briefly and decided to please myself. The Thai Curry and a bottle of beer. Then the FA Cup on telly. Leave the kitchen until tomorrow. Us real men like to live dangerously…

Damn it, no beer in the fridge. No matter, here’s the wife’s bottle of Bombay Sapphire.

Better make that ‘very dangerously…’ But I’m not stupid. There was hardly any gin left. I’d say about one measure. [Read more…]

Ticket for Two

Where I'm not going...

Where I’m not going…

“Can you come in the lounge?” Ben said. “I need to talk to you and Mum.”

“Yes, yes, of course,” I said, immediately panicking. Trouble at school. Something bothering him. Personal problems. No, it couldn’t be that. He always told his Mum first.

We sat nervously on the settee. Ben perched by the window. A girl? Did he want to bring a girl home at the weekend? “How would you feel…” he said. If I brought a girl home at the weekend. If I said I didn’t want to go into the sixth form. If I… [Read more…]

Pass the Sequins, Bruno

It's only a matter of time...

It’s only a matter of time…

When do good things happen? When you take risks. When you step outside your comfort zone.

Name one activity so far outside my comfort zone as to be virtually invisible. Ballroom dancing.

Name one activity that my wife would really, really like to do. Something that we could do together. Yep, ballroom dancing.

Every time a new series of Strictly starts she gets twitchy. I see the longing in her eyes. Of course, it could be longing for a man with a six pack and pecs that have been chiselled from mahogany, but I prefer to see it slightly differently… [Read more…]