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…]

Going the Extra Mile

CAMROSE, ALTA.: AUGUST, 4, 2012: — at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alta. on August 4, 2012. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)I woke my wife up at 6/30 on Sunday morning. Not a sensible career move.

Fortunately it wasn’t my fault. I could blame Tom and Jessica.

You may be reading this on your iPad. Lying in bed. Nice and warm – but silently cursing that very shortly you have to get up, get cold and drive your lovely children somewhere.

Yep. Been there, done that. [Read more…]

The Six Pack Has Landed

Think this is the first time I've used a 'selfie' on the blog...

Think this is the first time I’ve used a ‘selfie’ on the blog…

Let me freely confess that I have been a boring old (insert four letter word of choice) over Christmas and New Year.

I have relentlessly chanted ‘first world problems’ every time my children have complained that we’ve run out of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, that there’s Caramel Chew-Chew, not Phish Food, in the freezer or – in Tom’s case – that the bottle of wine he’s finishing off tonight isn’t quite as good as the one he finished off last night.

Sadly I must also freely confess that I’m a hypocrite. As regular readers know, I like my red wine, my cheese, my dessert wine and all the other little indulgences that have me buying trousers from the athletic (alright, elastic) waist rack.

Not any more. All that is about to change – as I was pointing out to my youngest son over the dinner table. [Read more…]

Move Over, Nigella

FajitasFive days before Christmas. The Beloved Daughter had arrived home from university. She covered the kitchen floor in unwashed hockey kit and demanded to know what was for dinner.

“Dunno,” I said. “Mum’s been collecting you; I’ve been at work.”

“Right,” she said. “I’ll cook risotto.” She scribbled a list on the back of my bank statement, refused to give me any money and sent me to the corner shop.

And you know what? [Read more…]

Two Toblerones and a Bottle of Gin

photo (17)“When did you start your Christmas shopping for Mum?” The Beloved Daughter demanded.


“What have you got so far?”

“Two Toblerones and a bottle of gin.”

Jessica looked at me coldly. “Well that’ll be a Christmas she won’t forget.”

I reminded her that I’d had a slight problem with my eyes. That for most of December I hadn’t been able to see my wife’s Christmas list – never mind send an army of delivery drivers into action.

But now it was the Tuesday before Christmas. I needed help. Which meant putting Jessica in charge. [Read more…]