“Can You Take Me to a Party?”

"No thanks, Dad..."

“No thanks, Dad…”

Here’s what I like to do on a Friday night. Most parents will tick these boxes…

Come in. Dump my notebook on the dining room table.

Walk smartly to the wine rack. Select a bottle of red wine. Open it. Let it breathe. Not for long, obviously.

On the off chance that I’m wearing anything formal – or tight – take it off.

…And spend the rest of the evening with my wife, eating something someone else has prepared (‘dine in for two for ten quid’ is just fine) and watching something mildly amusing that doesn’t tax what’s left of my brain: Blacklist, for example.

Here’s what I definitely don’t like to do: [Read more…]

My First Love

Just like this. But more rust. A lot more rust...

Just like this. But more rust. A lot more rust…

She was old. She was full of holes. She was rusty. And I loved her.


LYL 676D to use her full name. But ‘Lyl’ to me. My first car: my first love.

Lyl was a white mini. I bought her with the fruits of a summer spent calling bingo numbers. Then I drove her proudly back to university. Would any girl be able to resist me now I could whisk her off to the seaside at a moment’s notice?

I suggested as much to Amanda Jowett. “Frankly,” she said, “I’d rather take up stamp collecting.” [Read more…]

A Right Hash…

The correct amount of onions...

The correct amount of onions…

It started with the Shepherd’s Pie. All downhill from there…

Let’s be honest. Anyone can cook Shepherd’s Pie. It’s not difficult. We’re not in twice-baked soufflé territory.

So how did I make such a complete cock-up? How did I get it so disastrously wrong? So wrong that even the dog had second thoughts…


Jessica was watching me.

Home from university for the weekend, the Beloved Daughter was lounging in the kitchen. She has a new expression. It roughly translates as, ‘When I knew nothing about cooking I thought you were quite competent. Now I can knock up a Sunday roast while simultaneously writing a 2,000 word essay I realise you’re – frankly – pathetic.’ [Read more…]

“I Don’t Want to Play Cricket, Dad…”

Force IndiaI’m sorry about this. Feel free to never read the blog again. But I’m going be serious this week. Yep, I know you come here for five minutes’ mild amusement. Sorry. It won’t happen again.

But just for this week I’m going to desert Ben’s sarcasm, the intricacies of married life and my pathetic failure to cope with carrier bags costing 5p. I’m going to offer some parenting advice.

Two weeks ago a fellow-blogger asked me a simple question. What have been your most rewarding experiences as a Dad?

Blimey. Where to start? Could I finish inside 4,000 words? And what would Jessica say if she didn’t have the most entries on the list? [Read more…]

The D of E for Dads

We need one for Dads...

We need one for Dads…

Sunday morning. The two eldest children away at university, the youngest one fast asleep. My beautiful wife next to me in bed…

Very gently, I start to kiss the back of her neck. She sighs in her sleep. Moves closer to me. I trail my hand lightly over…

…the cheese.

Tough luck. Fantasy over, mate.

You’re a Dad. That’s all there is to it.

Think about something else and get on with making those sandwiches.

There I was, banging on the door of the corner shop while it was still pitch black. But two large cheese and ham later I’m ready. And so is my youngest son… [Read more…]

Bagged for Life

Only if you remember it, mate...

Only if you remember it, mate…

Let’s not beat about the bush. It would make perfect sense for me to have my Tesco Clubcard tattooed on my forehead. I can no more remember the damn thing than I can resist a bottle of red wine.

A quick visit to Wishful Inkin’ and all my troubles would be over. “Thanks. A bottle of gin for the wife as well if you would – and then just scan my head.”

But now I have a bigger problem.

My bag for life. Or rather, the lack of it.

As you know the country is drowning in carrier bags. Her Majesty’s Government has taken decisive action. On balance I think a future Doctor Who will conclude that life on Earth died out for rather more sinister reasons than the carrier bag, but what do I know? [Read more…]

Dining on Lemons

No, I used more than that...

No, I used more than that…

How to describe my wife’s face?

Carefully, obviously.

But pert, pretty, provocative. All of those. And one other…

“Blimey,” I said lovingly, “You look like a bulldog chewing a wasp.”

“No, I don’t,” she replied, “I look like a woman being forced to eat a lemon. Which is exactly what I am doing.”

“Yeah, Dad…”

My sons joined in enthusiastically. Once their pained expressions had returned to normal. [Read more…]

Tape Measure, Tape Measure…

Height ChartTape Measure, Tape Measure on the wall

Who is the tallest of them all?

Dad, obviously.

That’s how it is in a family. The natural order. Dad, Mum, Tom, Jessica, Ben.

Until it starts to change…

Every family home has one. A patch of wallpaper with heights, dates, pencil marks. Ours is in Ben’s bedroom – which badly needs re-decorating. But how can we?

“Look at this one. Tom when he was eight…”

“And here’s Ben. Four foot, four inches. When you could reach down and pat his little head…” [Read more…]

Law, Logic and a Watermelon

"You could always eat the evidence, Dad..."

“You could always eat the evidence, Dad…”

“I just need to call at Sainsbury’s on the way home,” I said as Ben climbed into the car.

“No problem. How was your day?”

I love that. Love, love, love that. And if you’re the parent of a teenager you’ll know why.

I’ve just collected you from College and yes, I’m fully aware you have an unbreakable appointment with your Xbox or mobile or both but the family needs this inconvenient thing called food.

Travel back in time three years and Jessica would most certainly have answered… [Read more…]

Quick, Quick, Very Slow

Well that's the theory...

Well that’s the theory…

Jobs for the weekend:

All the old shoes to recycling

Make the meat sauce

Learn the bloody rumba

Yep, learn the rumba. Dash it, dah-ling, I simply cannot get my hips to move properly. I know, too many years of playing football and cricket, going forwards and backwards when I should have been swaying seductively sideways. No matter: I’ll lock the office door, crank up YouTube and have another go…

You’ve guessed it. Eight months after confidently stating that Jane and I were going for ballroom dancing lessons we finally made it. [Read more…]