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…]

The Numbers Game

Soccer TacticsWe were driving Tom home after his first term at university. He sat in the back of the car and made a solemn announcement. “I’ve started supporting a team in the Premier League.”

‘Spurs,’ I thought instantly. They’re playing attractive football and they give their fans just the right mix of pleasure and pain. Which in turn means they have a splendidly morbid sense of humour. Yep, great choice, son. Not Spurs? Arsenal if you have to; Stoke if you’re a real man; anyone but Liverpool.

“Liverpool,” Tom said.

I fought to keep control of the car. How could I have failed so badly as a parent? [Read more…]

Pass the Port, Dad

Used to have one of these...

Used to have one of these…

I may be the stupidest person on the planet.

At least as far as wine is concerned.

Friday. Two boxes arrive from my good pals at Naked Wines. 18 bottles plus assorted goodies. I lovingly unpack the little beauties and then put them back in the boxes so I can unpack them again.

Saturday. Tom comes home from university. [Read more…]

The Closest I’ll Ever Come…

Sorry. A picture of my eyes would have been too horrific...

Sorry. A picture of my eyes would have been too horrific…

“You have chemical burns to your corneas. Both of them.” The news was delivered in an engaging Greek accent. Doctor George (second name too long for his badge) was from Athens. And he was going to irrigate my eyes.

They hadn’t improved over the weekend. On Monday I’d stumbled into the GP’s. Ten minutes later I was in a taxi to A&E.

“Chemical burns? So my eyes wouldn’t have washed it out?”


“So I could suffer permanent damage?”

“If I don’t irrigate your eyes, yes.”

I was too frightened to ask the next question. [Read more…]

Blind Date

A&ESaturday morning. And to paraphrase Gilbert and Sullivan, I was the very model of a modern husband. Cleaned the bathroom, flea-sprayed the carpets, taken my wife shopping.

“Hang on,” I said, somewhere between dishcloths and dog food, “I’ve got something in my eye. Wait a second. It’ll wash itself out.”

Except it didn’t. The pain – in both my eyes – got steadily worse. [Read more…]

The Omelette

photo (16)“There’s good news and bad news.” I said to my wife.

“Have you brought me a cup of tea?”


“Well,” she said sleepily, “That’s the good news. What’s the bad news?”

“Er… no,” I said. “The good news is I’ve made an omelette.”

“It’s eight-thirty on Saturday morning. I don’t want an omelette. You eat it.” She sat up and looked at me suspiciously. “You’re being stupid aren’t you? Tell me what’s really happened.”

I took a deep breath. [Read more…]