Greatest Hits – Volume 1

Forget them, Frankie...

Forget them, Frankie…

Let me share a vision of Hell with you…

We’re driving through Scotland. Apparently we’re on holiday. Three children on the back seat of a Megane Scenic. Jessica is at the height of her ‘Let’s keep Tom in line by biting him’ phase. The only time they’re not fighting is when they’re eating. And when they’ve finished eating Ben throws up. We’ve just discovered that he gets car sick. The nearest chemist and travel sickness tablets are on the other side of a mountain range. We don’t have a Satnav: so Jane and I are arguing. Still, at least it amuses the children… [Read more…]

Macbeth, Banquo and the Euromillions

I'm absolutely certain school has got it wrong...

I’m absolutely certain school has got it wrong…

Enter, stage right Macbeth and Banquo.

And they’re just like two lads coming back from the football. Meeting the witches. And treating it as a joke.

‘She said you’d be Thane of Cawdor.’

‘What about you then, mate? You’re gonna be the father of kings. Awesome or what?’

‘Looks like our luck’s in. Reckon we should buy a Euromillions on Friday…’

Any fool could see that’s what Shakespeare meant. But it wouldn’t do, would it? Not the expected answer. Not the officially approved answer. And the damn exam was on Thursday. I didn’t care any more. Sick to the back teeth of revision. I wanted to play cricket and chase Angela Miller… [Read more…]

Gambling Girl

Mis-spent youth...

Mis-spent youth…

Friday night. And I was deep in concentration. Totally focused.  Determined to be successful.

Won the Scottish National. Right time of year for it… Can’t have that one, it’s only seven… Good going. Soll? Night in Milan?

Yep, the Grand National had rolled around again – and despite all my mental anguish and midnight oil it seems a good few years since I was eagerly queuing to collect my winnings.

Maybe I chose the wrong side of the fence. Those happy days when I acted as the school bookmaker and the deputy head furtively sidled up to me at break. How I chortled when his ‘dead cert’ came down at the first… [Read more…]

The Ducks Have It

Crispy DuckA complete stitch-up. Frank Underwood would have been proud of it. The boy clearly has a future in politics…

It started with a simple text message. Or whatever a message is called on WhatsApp. We’re all connected now. We have a family group. Mind you, Jane and I have a group as well – sometimes I need to be careful I’m in the right group…

Yep, as the general election approaches our family is a modern democracy. Instant voting on any issue. And the children have been quick to take advantage of it… [Read more…]

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…]