Monday, December 31, 2007

Can you drive a train then?

Mick and I rode on a steam train today.

I was concerned when we arrived at the station because nothing had gone wrong.

Luckily as soon as we got out of the car I dropped my rucksack onto the sodden ground, instantly coating the part of the sack that fits against your back with a glossy layer of mud meaning that I couldn't put it against my ruck so I had to instead negotiate a handbag and an over excited two year old running at the trains as if he was on a mission. A mission of suicide. (For anyone who hates Mick - he did not die at any point during the day, you can stop reading now.)

It was like going on a normal train, only much slower and more uncomfortable and with no point to the journey and with a high proportion of men who look like this on the train, grasping protectively at their K1000's and looking scornfully at my 20D.

I plonked Mick in front of the steaming train and ran off to take a quick photo of him, hoping that he wouldn't fall down the tracks. I couldn't get the lens cap off the camera because I'd dropped it in the rucksack and bent the lens. Brilliant. I had a few seconds of blind panic and then managed to realign it by carefully pushing it really really hard with my fingers.

Upon boarding the train we were greeted by the sound of a three year old boy crying and crying and crying and crying and crying.

I looked over at another Dad with his three year old and we smiled at each other as if to say "Thank fuck it's not my turn to be humiliated publicly to the point of tears," (at least that was what I was thinking. He could have been thinking "I really want to kill my wife's new partner." for all I know) and said things to our children like "Can you see the Thomas engine?" every time there was a break in the incessant mantra of "I WANT THE THOMAS, I WANT THE THOMAS,"
Can you drive a train then?
I got talking to the other Dad when Mick and his child started playing Hide and Seek. As we watched the engine change over he told me that this was a bit of a busman's holiday for him because he works on the railways and that he was divorced.
Can you drive a train then?
To stop the kids from running back and forth and stamping all over the heritage leather seats I suggested that we sat together on the way back.

He explained that he had a new partner. I asked if his wife had a new partner too and he said "Yeah, that's why we split up." I did embarrassed laughing. He did well rehearsed eye rolling and humiliated yet accepting shoulder shrugging.

While I was nervously trying to think of what to say next he looked pointedly at me from the corners of his eyes and said "Every dog has his day."

I wan't sure what he meant. The only other person I have ever heard say "Every dog has his day," was Al Pacino in Scarface who said it just before trying to get off with his sister then inadvertently killing her then running around with a bazooka and a machine gun then being gunned down off a balcony into a fountain. (If you are doing a dissertation on Scarface and have found this information whilst doing research then it is an entirely accurate plot summary for Scarface. In fact, you don't need to bother referring to the film from now on, just cite this article.)
Can you drive a train then?
I did a bit of fake nose laughing and nodding then did looking over his right shoulder, out of the right hand window and across at my son, causing him to say "Every dog has his day. He's only 19. Bless him,"

I wanted him to stop saying "Every dog has his day," now because I wasn't sure what he meant.

I should have said "Do you mean you are going to kill your ex wife's lover or do you mean you are going to take loads of coke, t
ry to get off with your sister then inadvertantly kill her then run around with a bazooka and a machine gun and get gunned down off a balcony into a fountain?"

Instead I just kept doing laughing and shrugging and looking at the children playing and thinking "Oh dear, I'm really not sure what every dog has his day means but I think it carries quite violent and bitter associations and I don't really know you well enough to be able to ask you to clarify things. I wish that I could use another dog based idiom to respond to you but I'm not sure that "Walkies!" would be appropriate in this situation."

Then he said to me "Are you married?"

I said "Yes."

He said "Yes."

I said "My wife and I get on quite well though. Sorry."

We both had a little laugh at that.

Then he said "Yeah, me and my ex-wife get on quite well too."

"That's good." I said. "What about him? Do you get on ok with him?"

I don't know what the matter is with me. I should have said something like "
Can you drive a train then?"

"No, not really. not at all actually, in fact I nearly killed him once." He said.

"Oh dear," I said.

"Yeah, if it hadn't been for my son walking into the room, he would have been a dead man," He said.
Can you drive a train then?
"Can you drive a train then?" I said.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Say What?

These signs can be seen on the A10 to Ely.

I got home and typed "Say no to Mereham," into Google and found this brilliant explanation.

After reading this I have become very, very, very anxious x 100.

Obviously it is a disastrous idea for any housing to be developed around here because it will cause lots of accidents. Millions and millions of terrible accidents. In cars. On roads.

Whilst no-one in their right mind could ever argue against the wisdom of preventing any hateful outsiders from moving here, the sign is obscure, not to mention dangerous.

What if I suffered from imperative autistic disorder and lost control of my car in my helpless panic unable to process or fulfill such a vague command?

The sign itself would then be causing an accident.

I propose that the Mereham Anti Progress (in a good, safe way obviously) Committee adopt my revised poster campaign.

Another poster said "SAY NO TO MEREHAM, 12,000 MORE CARS."

That's loads of cars and don't forget, these aren't just any cars, these will be DANGEROUS cars.

However, some idiots will intentionally disobey very reasonable instructions just because they say "No" in them, so let's go for a loop of positivity - I think that this'll do the trick.

I'm ashamed that this post has taken me 1hr and 15 minutes of my life to write. What a terrible waste.

I could be watching the world's strongest man.

Happy New Year.

As if I won't spend tomorrow night blogging about how desperately lonely and self hating I am how much I hate New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

If you’re reading this, I hope it doesn’t make you get old school.

I am standing in Borders.

Mick is shouting “GO UPSTAIRS, I WANT YOU TO BUY ME A BOOK,” only he is doing it in his new psycho voice where he screams so loudly that he has three separate voices, one from his stomach, one from his throat and one through his nose.

People are looking and not smiling.

I’m whispering “It’s OK Mick, please stop shouting, I just need to choose a calendar,”

I’ve been looking for twenty minutes which could be something to do with Mick’s explosive behaviour.

I am holding a calendar called “Tuscany” and seriously considering it because it has a nice picture of a Sunflower on it. Something inside me says “Definitely not cool,” so I head for the Beatles calendar, which is a much cooler calendar. The coolest of all calendars.

What kind of guy am I? The kind of guy who has a really cool calendar. How cool is that? Well, we’ve got the Beatles, who are cool, and then on top of that we’ve got efficient time management, the coolest thing ever, so add them together and you get me - double cool.

Last time I went Calendar shopping I got the Cheeky Girls calendar which Polly threw in the bin.

Mick has stopped screaming and is just sobbing mournfully now so I head over to the lift to take him to the kids section when I see the Cliff Richard calendar.

My heart stops beating. It looks perfect. I turn it over and see the most erotic photograph ever…

It IS perfect. Then I look at the size allocated for writing on it. TOO SMALL. I am gutted. These days I can’t afford to do a joke for half of £7.99. A little part of me dies. How many more little parts of me can die before old me is dead? And will I notice when the last part of old me does die? And is it a sadness or a relief?

I go upstairs and refuse to buy Mick a book. I say to him “Mick, we can’t afford Cliff, we can’t afford a book. I’m sorry Mick,”

He looks at me and nods his head sagely. “Go home Daddy. On the bus,” he says.

I pay for the cool Beatles calendar and push Mick to the bus stop.

As we wait for the bus I wonder what the next explosive tantrum will be, and at what point it stops being “He’s three years old,” and starts being

“Thanks for coming to see us about Mick today Mister Trent, please take seat.

Mr Trent, Have you ever heard of something called the Autistic Spectrum?

Mr Trent, Here’s a leaflet that explains it to you. in an easy to understand cartoon.

Of a boy.

As you can see Mr Trent, he is crying his eyes out and saying "My trains must all be standing up before you switch off the light,"

As you can also see Mr Trent he has 327 trains.

As you can also see Mr Trent they all have stickers with their names on them.

As you can also see Mr Trent, his father is slamming the door of the room and shouting at his wife that "WE'VE GOT TO PUT OUR FOOT DOWN AT SOME POINT.

As you can also see Mr Trent, his mother is crying."

Possible flashpoints whilst waiting for the bus include:

A bus arrives – This, apparently, is a perfectly good reason to act as if every human right has been forcibly removed from you. It doesn’t matter what sort of bus. If it is a double decker then it should have been a single decker and vice versa. If it arrives quickly it’s too fast. If it’s late it’s too slow. Why are we going on a bus anyway? I want to go on a train…

A blue bus arrives to take us home, not a red bus - This is a particularly cunning flashpoint as no red buses go anywhere near our house.

The concept of sitting upstairs - It doesn’t matter that Mick has never sat downstairs on a double decker, if a double decker approaches it is perfectly acceptable for him to scream “I want to sit upstairs,” over and over again in ever escalating anxiety until he is actually sitting upstairs.

We get on the bus. We go upstairs. Empty top deck. Result. We get the best seats (front, right hand Aisle). I sit next to Mick – this is another flashpoint – “NO, IF YOU SIT NEXT TO ME THEN I WILL CRY, I WILL CRY, NO, YOU CAN’T SIT NEXT TO ME, I HAVE TO CRY IF YOU SIT NEXT TO ME,”

Nothing happens. Mick is as obviously traumatised by the loss of erotic Cliff Richard this year as I am. I give him a cuddle to try and make it up to him.

At the train station four “Youth” get on. I hear footsteps and then a female voice shouts “SAMMY, MIA, MIA, MIA,”

“WHERE ARE YA?” shouts “Sammy”

“MIA,” shouts the woman whose name isn’t Mia. She is saying “I am here,”

I am really terrified by their loutish and loud behaviour. I don’t experience this as fear though, I experience it as prejudice and hatred.


“YAIRBRIRRIYANSEEKAFRINTAYT?” responds another youth.

“HAHAHAHAHA” they all laugh.

They are harmless and I think to myself “How nice, they are actually all really pleased to see each other and just having really really loud chat. Maybe it’s good that these uneducated youth are going to grow up to rule the country, it means that maybe people will start communicating with each other without embarrasment and hushed voices. Good for you youth. Maybe I’ll turn around and give you a validatory smile. Oh, you’re saying “Fuck” quite a lot - maybe I’ll just try to appreciate you quietly and hope none of you notice that I am on the bus.”

One of their mobile phones goes off. Except it’s not going off. It’s just playing a song.

Dizzee Rascal is repeatedly requesting that I don’t make him get old school. He is doing this over an old school hip hop beat therefore making his request rather redundant.

Dizzee, if you’re reading this, I hope it doesn’t make you get old school. I’m not sure exactly what would make you get old school anyway though, you’ve not specified that in your song – perhaps you could release a song listing very clearly the things that make you get old school.

If “Riding on a bus with your child sitting next to you, becoming increasingly embittered by a twunt playing my song out of a mobile phone,” is on the list then may I wholeheartedly express my apologies, but I’m afraid you will have to get old school.

The twunt only has a 30 second attention span, as the music then changes to somebody getting very excited about me watching him “crank it like a hoe”. I don’t like gardening at the best of times. This is utterly preposterous.

I don’t know what to do. I want to tell them to turn the phone off. I’ve been brave twice before in the face of anti social behaviour. The first time ended up with my suspicion that I may be a fat man who resembles a woman’s reproductive organs being repeatedly confirmed by 14 youth who then waited for me to leave the cinema until the police turned up to escort me to my car, and the second time led to this.

I decide not to turn around and say “I’m sorry, I think your phone is ringing, perhaps you should answer it?” Instead I make an effort to appear as if I am wholly focused on Mick who is demanding a move of seats.

When the bus stops we move across to the seats on the left hand aisle. As we move across I bravely glance at the youth for about two fifths of a second. They look a bit older than I remembered. I sit next to Mick.


“Sorry Mick,” I say, very calmly, staring straight ahead, “I have to sit next to you or you’ll hit your head.”

Mick goes into full blown psycho mode for the next 10 minutes.

I worry so much about upsetting our fellow passengers that I break into a sweat.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sick Mick

"Come away from the telly Mick,"


"Come away from the telly Mick,"


"Come away from the telly Mick,"


Mick is standing about 4 inches away from the telly and is using two hands to excavate his arsecrack. He’s quite bored. He’s watched TV since nine this morning. It’s now ten to five.

Mick is sick. He has a temperature of 38 degrees. He spent last night in bed with me, heavy breathing through his nose like a peveret, hitting me and saying "I want to drink water please," every half an hour from eleven o’ clock last night until half past six this morning.

From half six until to half eight he added whispering the lyrics to "Ride a Cock Horse" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to his repertoire.

I said "If you don't stop talking Mick, you'll go in your own bed," sixty three times.

I wonder at which point he thought "Right mate, you say you'll put me in my own bed, but so far you've said that to me eleven times and not actually managed to lift your head off your pilllow. I reckon that's a pretty empty threat, now would you stop interrupting me, I'm trying to remember the words from the Iggle Piggle song to whisper in order to interrupt your sleep. You mug,"

Whilst I didn't get any sleep I enjoyed the experience because it made me feel like that man in the Athena poster from the 1986 called Man and Boy.

I always loved that poster and tried to get loads of girls pregnant in 1986 in order to recreate it, but sadly it never happened for me.

This was mainly because my seduction technique consisted of stealing £2.99 from my Mum’s purse and buying the picture disc of either “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys, “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by the Communards or “The Edge of Heaven” by Wham, then giving it to Vanessa King or Kimberley Myers or Sarah Bayliss at lunchtime before inviting them to come with me to watch Luke Gale do “flobbing” into the biology pond.

And because I looked like this.

A Number