Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Christmas

"Dad, the polar bears are going, look," says Elly.

On the telly there are two polar bears. They swim off a block of ice that's about as big as them.

"It's sad isn't it?" I say.

"Yeah." says Elly.

"They're beautiful aren't they?"

"Yeah." says Elly.

The telly is saying "Adopt a polar bear, for only £2.00..."

I think "Elly likes polar bears."

I turn back to my laptop. I am surfing a kitchen website, trying to find edible glitter and chocolate stars and chocolate covered coffee beans in order to prevent my Christmas day from being RUINED.

I see "50 disposable icing bags," and think to myself "Eggy the polar bears, I could get some icing bags that I don't need to wash up, yes, much better than polar bears," and reflect how brilliant my impenetrable wall of resistance is.

I look up and there are three bears all sitting around together, like we are on the sofa. The telly says "Help to save these bears, before it's too late."

I suddenly feel overwhelmed with helplessness and have to really concentrate on not crying.

Happy Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I really hate fish pie.

I think it is anticlimactic, like the emperors new clothes, but everyone goes "mmm, fish pie, deLICIOUS," as if it is the most brilliant thing ever. It is not. It is not a computer. It is some fish in a milky sauce with some mashed potato on the top. Big deal. 

If you said "Hey, come round for some fish in a milky sauce with mashed potato on top," people would say "Really? No thanks I think I'll just eat some noodles or a baked potato" but say "Fish pie?" and people are all supposed to swoon and go into paroxyms of ecstacy "Oh, Fish Pie," they say "Mmmm, fish pie, yummy, delicious, uh uh uh, fish pie, oh, I've just...have you got a tissue?"

Once my friend Jon made a fish pie for us when we went round to his house for dinner. I was so dissapointed that I wanted to cry. Part of me wanted to say "Right, joke's over, where's the real food now Jon? Where's the meat?" but throughout the meal it dawned on me with a horrible realism that I was experiencing the punchline of the evening instead of the setup. 

I was a bit embarrassed and frustrated, I wanted him to have made some meat and roast potatoes. Instead I went "mmm, fish pie, deLICIOUS, yummy, fish pie, so much nicer than meat and roast potatoes, such a nice change, god, I'd NEVER cook this myself, it's so lovely..." and pretended to be interested in how easy it was to make and even rang him up a bit later to ask him for the recipe. (I certainly didn't take the piss out of him every time I went to his house to eat, ringing him up and saying "Hey, Jon, I fancy coming over to have some FISH PIE." like he does every time he comes round to my house to eat because I once made some salads - really well thought out, meticulously sourced and put together salads. Obviously he doesn't say the bit about fish pie, but he always says how much he'd like to come over for a salad.)

Today I made a fish pie.

To make the fish pie, I first had to go out to get a newspaper and some milk.

I got back from that trip, read the newspaper, had my breakfast and realised I'd forgotten the milk.

I went out and got some milk and some onions to make the milk infusion for the sauce.

Then I went to the fridge to get the eggs but there weren't any so I had to go back out to get some eggs.

Then I came home and made the fish pie. I used 5 saucepans. I used a sieve. I used 2 bowls. I used 3 measuring jugs. I used a whisk and an electric whisk. I used the colander. I used some scissors and 2 sharp knives. I used the chopper. I used the lemon juicer. I used an icing bag and a nozzle.

I skinned 2 pieces of white fish and 4 pieces of salmon and put all the skin in a pan with milk over it and onions and carrots and parsley stems, then I strained the infusion and made a white sauce, chopping the parsley heads into it, then I mixed in the fish and some lemon juice.

I pricked three of the eggs and boiled them and then peeled them and added them to the pie.

I also boiled the potatoes and drained them and returned them to the pan and added heated milk and butter and then whipped them until they were pureed. Then I tried to put them in the icing bag to pipe them but the bag was split so instead I spooned them onto the top of the pie with a spatula. Then I made a forky pattern all over the fish pie.

Then I put the pie in the oven, then I took it out of the oven because I hadn't placed it on a baking tray and then I put it back into the oven.

Then I realised that we hadn't put the dishwasher on last night so I had to do all the washing up by hand. 

Then I went to the freezer to get some frozen peas out and discovered that there weren't any frozen peas.

Then the doorbell went and I shouted to Polly (who had gone out with Topsy the kids) "Hey Polly, I tried to ring you, we need some frozen peas," and Topsy said to me "You get them then, we're exhausted."

And I thought to myself

"I really hate fish pie."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Look at me everybody, I have a phd.

Today we went to return an external hard drive that wouldn't format properly.

On the way out of the shop Mick became indignant that we'd gone to John Lewis' house, but John Lewis hadn't come to say hello.

He expressed this by grumbling "But I didn't get to see John Lewis" all the way to the car.

Also, something cool happened in the lift.

Level 2 and a total Cambridge head said "Which level is this?"

"It's level 2," said his daughter.

"Well how can we tell?" said the man, in an exasperated voice.

"Well Dad, it says "Level 2" right next to your head, and also if you look on the wall in front of us, see those words that say "Level 2"? They mean that we're on Level 2."

The man looks at the Level 2 on the wall then looks around the lift.

He takes in the fact that we are all smirking at his daughter's withering explanation and says "You see? Having a phd is useless."

I thought "Not if you have a phd in lifts," but not quickly enough to make it seem as if I hadn't been thinking it up so I had to stand in torturous silence for the remainder of the lift journey, thinking "Damn, it's too late, no hang on, I could probably get away with it, no, I couldn't. I could. I couldn't. I really couldn't now anyway, it's far too late. Say it. Say it. NO."

Also, in his case, I should have said "Don't say that, Your phd is very useful for making you look like a smug twit."

Only in Cambridge could a man think that saying "Look at me everybody, I have a phd" makes you sound like less of a cock.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I went out to the garage and pushed her bike as hard as I could at the freezer / garage door.

I had a brilliant row with Polly today. My favourite bit was when I went out to the garage and pushed her bike as hard as I could at the freezer / garage door.

For those of you wondering "How hard would that be?" the answer is quite hard. As soon as I let go of the bike I thought "Oh shit, that was really dumb, now I will have to add breaking the freezer to the list of things we are having a brilliant row about."

Luckily though the freezer didn't break. 

To add to the futility of the gesture I did it alone, whilst she was in the hall getting Mick's coat on.

I went over and picked the bike up and got even more angry that her stupid basket had fallen off the front of her bike and her stupid lock had fallen out of her stupid basket and her stupid bike things that you strap around your trousers to stop the trousers going in the chain were on the floor.

My anger was inspired by being asked to do "jobs" today, as I hadn't got any work.

This is SO UNFAIR. I have to do ALL THE SHIT JOBS. Doesn't she realise that when I don't get work I need to spend my day watching heroes, then playing grand theft auto and then having a sleep? Doesn't she realise that when people hear that I work as a supply so I can spend more time at home they say "cool" and that cutting the hedge and putting the tent in the loft and booking the hyundai in for a service are REALLY NOT COOL?

Well she will do now, because I threw her bike at the freezer without her knowing about it. That'll definitely teach her.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is it serious glue?

"Let's get some glue Mick,"

"Yes Dad, let's get some glue."

(Brilliant exposition of character there - so subtle you may not have noticed it if I hadn't pointed it out really crassly here)

"Shall we get that glue Mick?"

"Is it serious glue?"

"Yes Mick, It's serious glue."

"Ohhhh, I don't want serious glue. Is it serious glue?"

"Well Mick, it's fairly serious but it does have a playful side. If you tell it a joke per se it won't laugh but it does appreciate sarcasm and irony."

"Irony? And do we have irony at home?"

The girl next to us who is touching different types of A4 refill pad smirks. My job is done.

"Yes Mick, we have an infinite supply of irony at home."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

He's a cheater, he cheats, he cheated.

It's a close call. Both number threes whizz into their positions on the floor. Blue three is slightly ahead of Red three.

"Cheater, cheater, cheater, you're cheating, you're a cheater, he's cheating, he's a cheater" says the boy with the glasses. He is in red team.

"Excuse me?" I say.

The boy with the glasses says nothing.

"Were you calling him a cheat?" 

"Yes." says the boy with the glasses.

"Can you remember what I warned you about at the beginning of the game?"

"Yes." says the boy with the glasses.

"Can you remind me what I said please?" 

"You said that calling people cheat or accusing people of cheating was against your rules."

"That's right. I don't want to hear any more of it. It's only a game."


The boy with the glasses turns to his friend. "He's a cheater, he cheats, he cheated."

"O.K. I asked you not to say that. If you can't play without conjugating the word "to cheat" you'll have to sit out and nobody wants that."

"O.K, sorry."

He stops calling the kid a cheat. I mentally congratulate myself for keeping everything in perspective and shout "SIX"

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I knew instinctively that this would be my rake

This morning I got Mick dressed and we drove to B and Q to buy a new rake.

Hanging up in the garden section were many Leaf Rakes and Garden Rakes.

Leaf rakes are mainly for gathering leaves and garden rakes are for levelling soil. I intended to mainly gather leaves and branches and apples, not to level soil.

None of the rakes were cheap so buying one of each was not an option. Well, not an option I could afford.

I didn't know what to do so I rang Polly up and she said "Just get one rake, a leaf rake." (This is paraphrasing. She said other things too like "Hello, hello, hello" because the answering machine kicked in before she picked up)

I looked at all the leaf rakes on their hangers. There was an excellent choice of rakes.

First I considered B and Q's own make of rake. It was retailing at £11.98. It had quite a narrow head, but other than this I was happy with it.

Then I looked at the other rakess. They were all retailing at £19.98. This suddenly threw new light upon the price of B and Q's own make of rake. Why were all the other rakes retailing at £19.98? What was wrong with B and Q's own make of rake that it only cost £11.98?

I went to B and Q's own rake and touched it with my hand. I lifted it out of it's hanging hooks but was suddenly overwhelmed with the possibility that a rake for only £11.98 would be a false economy when compared to a rake for £19.98.

I did a couple of rake tests. First of all I kind of jiggled it up and down in my hand, probably three times. Then I touched the end of the handle on the floor. I touched it once, then twice. Then I touched the end of the tines with my finger. I then put it back.

My tests had been pretty thorough and confirmed exactly what I had suspected - an £11.98 rake simply would not do.

I decided to investigate the rakes that cost £19.98. I took the widest one available off of the shelf and looked at it. The tines were made of plastic. This put me off. I thought it looked as if it would break very quickly. I put it straight back on the shelf. No further tests.

Then I looked at the rake that I was to purchase.

I knew instinctively that this would be my rake for three important reasons:

1) The rake was made by Wilkinson Sword, a company who are famous for making products that are brilliant at scraping. I didn't know that they made rakes too, but I was pleased to see a rake with a brand that I recognized.

2) The rake had a handle made of FSC certified wood and a sticker on it which said "10 year guarantee."

3) The rake was a rake that I liked.

I then looked at another Wilkinson Sword rake which had a carbon steel handle. I decided that I preferred wood because it was more natural and looked better - qualities that I was discovering were essential for me in a rake.

I then saw a rake for £4.98. It was an adjustable rake. It had a very short handle and one of the rakes was lying on the floor as if a customer had taken it off the shelf and thrown it down in disgust.

I reached for the Wilkinson Sword rake with a wooden handle, turned around to Mick, said "We'll get this rake," and picked the Wilkinson Sword rake with a wooden handle off the hanger.

As I picked it off the shelf I pitched it slightly up in the air whilst twisting my wrist to make the rake do a one hundred and eighty degree turn before catching it.

Cool moves, cool rake, cool guy.

As I walked off I spotted an enormous garden rake that I'd not noticed before. It was very wide - maybe 50cm wide - but in the shape of a garden rake. It was so gigantic that it stopped me in my tracks. I walked back to it and stood in front of it, staring. It was called a "landscaping rake". There was only one on the shelf. I looked at it in enchantment, thinking "that is a very very wide rake, probably the widest rake I've ever seen, maybe I should buy that rake then I will own the widest rake I've ever seen, and I will feel total rake happiness and fulfillment in a way I've never felt before." Unfortunately one of the tines was bent. As there were no other landscaping rakes available I decided to settle for my Wilkinson Sword rake with a wooden handle.

It now strkes me that I spent a very long time standing on a floor staring up at rakes this morning in a way that was reminiscent of Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters. Except with rakes.

It was raining when I arrived at home so instead of cutting the hedges I raked up all the windfall apples on our lawn. I made them into two piles on the garden.

As I raked I noticed that I liked everything about the rake apart from the way it felt as I raked and the way it raked things up.

I was suprised by this. Then I remembered that I don't really like raking.

After gathering up the apples in piles I put the rake back in the shed. It seemed very new and smooth against the darker, more weary woods of the older spades and hoes.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Different types of flavours of crisps

If it wasn't for people wanting to know about different types of flavours of crisps, this blog would be dead.

However, loads of people want to know about the different types of flavours of crisps.

Here, for those people, they are. If you don't want to know about the different types of flavours of crisps, for your own sake, go somewhere else.

The different types of flavours of crisps are:

Salt and vinegar
Prawn Cock

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


We are at my parents. We are staying over. Polly and I are unfolding the kids bed and having a good argument.

"Can you pull the bed out 1cm?" says Polly.

"No, do you think you could possibly perhaps maybe just put the fucking sheet on the fucking bed without doing a strategical reorganisation of the bedroom?" I say not unreasonably. Or charmingly.

Meanwhile Mum and Dad have arrived in the bedroom. It's quite a small bedroom - just about big enough for a double bed once it's pulled out - with a very low ceiling.

"Is it too warm?" shouts Mum.

"I don't think so, do you think it's too warm?" says Dad

"I don't know, it might be too warm, but I'm not too sure, what do you think?" says Polly

"I don't know if it's too warm. Look, can we just focus on these sheets for fuck's sake?" I say.

"David," shouts Mum

"Don't say that David," says Dad.

"I'm sorry, I'm just a bit too hot," I say.

"It is hot in here, isn't it, maybe it's too hot?" says Mum.

"I don't think it's too hot, do you think it's too hot?" asks Polly.


Everyone starts shouting at once.






Just at the point that I think I am actually going to die from a haemmorrhage brought on by the sheer mental challenge of trying to work out if we should turn down the radiator, the door crashes open and Mick comes running into the room.


He is holding a pink one above his head.

As one, we all turn and look at Mick, grin and chorus..

"Have you got a pink one Mick?"


1) I decided that when nothing really happens like a story I will just do boring blogs like this one.

2) I drove to school and got very worried that I was going to be late as the traffic was quite slow on the A14. I was supposed to be on playground duty at 8.30 but I was still sitting on the A14 at 8.22. I got very very anxious and thought about ringing people at school to warn them but the traffic was still moving and I didn't want to break the law or die in a crash so I just sat tight, looking at the clock every 20 seconds and composing excuses and scenarios for when I was late.

Luckily though the traffic sped up and I got into school at 8.30, so the moral is if you are feeling worried about something, don't worry about it because it definitely won't happen. This is now my new philosophy in life.

3) I taught a very interesting lesson where we looked at leaflets and listed all the different features that are common in leaflets and wrote them into our books. So, if you've been worried about the future sparcity of leaflet writers, don't. It's covered.

4) I taught about fractions. Some fractions equal other fractions, and when you add one fraction to another fraction you get a different fraction. Sometimes fractions can be simplified. Fractions are more difficult to learn than they are to teach.

5) I ate a very small ham sandwich with some lettuce and some avocado. It was ok. Then I surfed the internet for games that we could play in the hall this afternoon, as our normal games lesson was off due to the infant sports day. I got about 10 really good games off of the internet and printed them all out. It took me about twenty minutes. I was pretty stoked about this and excited about our fun afternoon.

6) I went into the staffroom to drink a cup of coffee but there wasn't any so I had a cup of water. It was ok. It was cold and tasted like water. I then overheard a teacher saying "We're in the hall all afternoon" and I said "Are you in the hall all afternoon?" and they said "Yes." and I said "O.k. then I won't do PE in the hall all afternoon I guess." and they said "Sorry" and I said "No problem," and did loads of thumbs ups and smiling to indicate that it wasn't a problem, but it was a problem as it meant that I'd just wasted 20 minutes finding games on the internet and printing them all out.

This taught me that if you don't worry about something and relax and look forward to it, it will all turn to dust around your fingertips, so never get excited or anticipate anything being any good ever. I have revised my earlier philosophy to include this learning.

7) We played the games I had planned for the hall in the playground. It was OK. Only one child was bleeding by the end of the afternoon.

8) I drove home and cooked some salmon and courgettes and pasta for the children's supper. I was pretty stoked about having been so organised.

9) The kids came home and said "I don't want to eat tea, I want to watch TV." then ate about 1 mouthful of the food I cooked them and then watched TV.

See, that was a wicked day of fun wasn't it? Now I'm going to put the children to bed and cook supper.

It is more exciting than being dead.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

There are fifty different types of crisps.

"Have you got anything?" Elly says.

I look at her and think "Oh shit, I haven't got anything. The next 17 minutes of my life are going to be fairly challenging. Try to distract her."

"Look here, can you see in this picture? It's you, Shellfish and Ipod when you were all in Reception!"

I've been flicking through a book of "Early Years Photographs" that are on the table outside the school hall where I wait for Elly to finish Drama club. I am dissapointed to find loads of photographs of Elly thus shattering the illusion I've bitterly created that nobody at the school realises that Elly is alive.

"Daddy, look at ME Daddy, Daddy, have you got anything?" she asks.

"Umm, look, I've got something to tell you. I've left your box of smarties at home. We'll have to pop in at home on the way to collect Mick,"

"Don't do a joke Daddy, It's not funny." says Elly.

"It's not a joke," I say.

Elly's bottom lip immediately starts to quiver.

"Stop that. We're going straight home to get your Smarties, unless you kick up a massive fuss, in which case there'll be nothing."

I am Superdad. Or a cock. You decide.

"O.K." she shoves her thumb into her mouth and starts stamping towards the car, each footstep drilling a message of hatred towards me through the concrete.

"No, you don't walk like that, you walk normally, otherwise no smarties."

"O.K." she takes my hand and we walk to the car. As I open the car up I notice 2p on the seat and say "Elly, I've got 2p. Shall we go to the shop and buy a 2p sweet or two 1p sweets and skip the Smarties?"

"YES, Oh yes Daddy, 2p. A 2p sweet. Or two 1p sweets. They've got 1p sweets and they've got 2p sweets. I don't know what to get." Elly is giggling and skipping towards the sweet shop.

This is brilliant. I really am not a cock. I really am a Superdad. Instead of a big box of Smarties Elly is going to have just 2 little milk bottles which will fool her into contentedness . I am doing my two favourite things - buying sweets and conning my daughter.

I truly am the shit.

Emphasis on the am.

Notice use of "the" and not "a"

We walk into the sweetshop and turn to where the wall of 1p and 2p sweets are.

It is full of crisps. There are fifty different types of crisps.

When did crisps become so diverse? It's as if the shop has some kind of equal opportunities policy that's been extended to the world of crisps. "Here at Mace we believe that every crisp flavour should have an equal opportunity to reach it's full market potential,"

Seems a bit ethnic cleansing to do it at the expense of the 1p and 2p sweets though.

"First they came for the 1p and 2p sweets,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't particularly fond of 1p and 2p sweets,"

Good. I can use that bit for stand up. And then have to make a joke about how I knew all along that it wasn't particularly funny when nobody laughs. On with the story...

"Oh look Elly, they've got crisps where the 2p and 1p sweets used to be."

"OH NO, NO DADDY, NO," Elly's thumb shoots into her mouth and she starts trembling silently.

"Come on, we'll go straight home and get the smarties from there.

We walk out of the shop and she begins crying a crescendo of misery until her body is wracked with sobs. After about 10metres she stops walking and screams "I CAN'T WAIT FOR MY SMARTIES THOUGH DADDY, I JUST CAN'T WAIT...I HATE YOU, I REALLY REALLY HATE YOU."

I stand and look at her. This is really so unfair. I was trying to do something nice, I was totally up for spending the 2p on sweets, it was going to be brilliant. Who exactly are these idiots who demand fifty different types of crisps? Where are the 1p and 2p sweets? Why can't there be any consistency in this shit world? Can't a shopkeeper show some commitment to the sanity of people like me who make blind yet not unreasonable promises to their kids? Is that really too much to request?


In my head I summarise the situation.

Elly is screaming.

Elly wants some Smarties.

I intended originally to give her some Smarties.

I have no Smarties.

I only have 2p.

Summarising in my head isn't really helping Elly to stop screaming.

I approach Elly, kneel down opposite her, reach out to her shoulders and look deeply into her eyes. Then I say to her, very gently...

"Elly, listen, I really want to get you some sweets but I haven't got any money so this is what I'm going to do," I glance from side to side up and down the street and then look back into her eyes and whisper "I'm going to go into that shop and I'm going to steal you some Smarties."


"Don't tell anybody, ever, but I know how to do it. I can just go in there Elly and I can steal some sweets. If the shopkeeper catches me I could get into a lot of trouble with the police, but I really need to get you some sweets and I haven't got any money, so let's go and do this."

"No Daddy, no, you can't steal."

"Why not?"

"It's wrong."

"I know, but come on," I pull her towards the shop. "You really need these Smarties, I can see that because you're so sad. I've never done it before but I'm sure I could get away with it. If I get in trouble I don't care. As long as your happy. Let's go."

Elly looks at me, with an expression on her face that I've never seen before. It dawns on me that it is pity. My six year old is pitying me.

"Daddy, no, it's wrong to steal Smarties. Let's go and get some from home."

As I drive off she says to me "Daddy, I know you were joking about doing the stealing. Now put your seatbelt on."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We're all having a lovely laugh.

"Daddy, we have to take a drink into school."


"We have to take a drink into school. For the summer fete."

"What kind of drink? Do you have to take alcohol or normal drinks?"

"I don't know."

"O.K, I'll ask Mrs Winston." I say. It wouldn't do to take in a drink of barley water if everyone else was bringing in a bottle of wine. The shame of it would be too apalling, and the last thing I want is to feel embarrassed, ever.

"Hello Mrs Winston,"

"Hello Elly's Dad."

"Hello Mrs Winston's parent helper,"

"Hello Elly's Dad."

"Now, Mrs Winston, this summer fete, Elly tells me that you need a bottle of drink, but we're very worried about the contents of said bottle."

"Oh, don't worry, it can be anything."

"Anything?" I ask.

"Absoutely anything as long as it's liquid" says Mrs Winston, laughing a little.

"Absoutely anything as long as it's liquid?" I ask, incredulously. This is too good a setup to waste.

Mrs Winston laughs properly.

Mrs Winston's parent helper laughs too.

This is great. We're all having a lovely laugh.

"That's great. I've got a lovely big bottle of Rohypnol at home. I'll bring that in shall I?"

The laughter stops. Instantly.

"Ok. Thanks a lot. Say thank-you Mick," I say and leave the classroom.

When was the last time you had a nice glass of barley water?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Please come round the side,

We had supper on the patio last night. On the table on the patio. Not on the patio. I didn't throw the food on the patio and shout "Polly, we're going to eat on the patio tonight, like dogs. Dogs who eat aubergine and chickpeas and granary bread."

Anyway, that would be eating off the patio.

We ate off plates whilst sitting at the patio table last night. A woman was coming over to pick up our underbed boxes that we had put on Cambridge Freecycle. Worried that I wouldn't hear the bell I scribbled a quick note for the front door.

It read

"We are in the garden, please come round the side.

Unless you are a burglar.

If you are a burglar, please fuck off.


I was torn between this and "If you are a burglar, try next door, they've got a Lexus and everything."

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Really quickly, because I want to read my book, but I also really want to tell all one of you this hilarious story.

On Tuesday we all went swimming. When we change we pair up. I changed with Mick this time and Elly changed with Polly.

When Mick and I finished getting changed we walked out to see Elly sitting in the Cafe. This is the council swimming pool and it has the mandatory council swimming pool cafe which sells Jacket Potatoes and has two packets of crisps in a bowl by the till and has a banana and and apple and an orange all sitting in a "display" on top of the hot food display cabinet. Look at the beautiful picture I paint with merely a few words.

The cafe is busy. It's half term and there's loads of kids and mums around.

Elly is sitting all alone at the table. She is sitting up as straight as she can, being "a very good girl," She is being such a very good girl that she's trembling with happiness at being a good girl. If you could read her brains they would probably be saying something about being as good as a princess or a ballerina.

My first thought is "Polly must be dead." It's my default interpretation for the unexpectedly missing matriachal figure. I always used to look for Mum's car on my way home from school and if Mum's car wasn't there I'd think "Nana Minnie must be dead, great excuse," and then I'd get in to find a note saying "I am at John Lewis, bad luck, you'll only have your horrifcally adolescent obsession with sexual intercourse to blame for getting C C E in your A levels,"

Then I think "No, Polly is probably not dead. She must be buying some food," I look towards the food counter but Polly isn't there.

I approach Elly and say "I can't see Mummy anywhere Elly,"

Elly sits up very straight and says "Mummy is at the toilet."

I look around and think "That's really bad Polly, you can't leave Elly sitting all alone in a public place, this just isn't responsible parenting."

I think this for 4 seconds, before I suddenly think "BRILLIANT OPPORTUNITY."

"Elly, quick, get your coat, let's all go and hide,"

Elly looks at me, lowers her eyes, smiles condescendingly and says

"I'm not allowed."

"What? What do you mean you're not allowed?"

"Mummy said that when you said that we should go and I hide I have to say that I'm not allowed."

Sometimes it's as if my wife knows me.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Affluenza by Oliver James is the most important book ever written.

Yes. I got a new computer. When I plug things in it works straight away. Unlike the acer aspire 3662 that I used to have. That was a really bad computer. It never worked.

I am in Brighton. It is good. We have no children with us and we're not missing them.

Check out this ironic photograph.

Let's count the ways of Irony.

1) It is ironic because the book is called affluenza yet the sticker is encouraging me to buy more than one book.

2) It is ironic because I took it on my brand new mobile phone which isn't really that much better than my perfectly good old mobile phone.

3) It is ironic because the function of a mobile phone is primarily to communicate with people through the medium of phone call. In that case I may as well carry around a little stick and call that a mobile phone. I'd probably use it to make more calls. At least then I'd only have to speak to imaginary people.

4) It is ironic because this is my second brand new mobile phone in two weeks as I threw my last mobile phone into my toilet. I wish I had done a poo in the toilet first, but I hadn't, so the story is pretty futile. It goes like this "I was walking into the toilet. It was 5.45 in the morning. I pressed the email icon on the screen then lost my grip on the phone. It dropped into the toilet. I fished it out. I dried it on a tea towel. I put the tea towel in the dirty washing. I went back to bed. I phoned my insurance. I went into town and got another phone." If only I'd done a poo. It would be a much more entertaining story then because I could add the words "I had to put my hand into the poo. I had to wipe the poo off using some toilet paper," That would be a blast.

5) It is ironic because I really wanted to buy the book although I didn't need it.

6) It is ironic because the font is double spaced with massive amount of white space all around it so it is twice as big as it needs to be.

7) It is ironic because as soon as I saw the front cover I went and purchased a white suit and a briefcase and a shirt with coloured splodges on it and then I forced Polly buy a white suit and a green scarf.

8) And Polly cut all her hair off and I brought a wig. We look like dicks but we feel as if we did the right thing.

9) It is ironic because the title encapsulates the entire book and probably says everything you need to know about the subject, thus rendering the entire book obsolete.

10) It is ironic because Influenza is an illness where you lie on a couch and stare at the ceiling, often wearing no clothes and crying a little bit, whereas Affluenza is not an illness, it is a made up word, made up by Oliver James in order to make his book sound zeitgeisty and cutting edge and therefore to sell his ideas to us.

11) It is ironic because I haven't read the book yet I am slagging it off, which is the sort of habit I disapprove of. Unless I'm doing it. Then it is HILARIOUS.

12) It is ironic because by the very nature of me writing "Affluenza" and "Oliver James" again and again I will end up advertising the book and perhaps selling a copy or two.

13) It is ironic because Oliver James will probably google himself and see this blog and then he will write a new book called "Ironyfluenza" and it will be all about me and he will make loads of money. Out of me.

13) It is ironic because I purchased it.

Once I have read this book I will write the following review:

"Affluenza by Oliver James is the most important book ever written. YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK. And then you must buy a copy of this book for everyone you know and tell them to buy a copy of the book for everyone you know. And then you must buy this book again and leave it lying around your house. Especially when they reprint it in another format or with a new cover. "

(I didn't buy it. I might get it out of the library. It's non-fiction so I should be able to get it held and sent to my local branch)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I drive home.

"We've got to book the holiday David," says Polly to me as we drive back from Thetford forest.

Elly has spent the last hour howling with despair because the 43p she brought with her wasn't enough to buy anything at the shop. She's been really screaming and it's been pretty much totally embarrassing and unbearable.

Screaming like this has a kind of mind searing effect which wrenches any fun that's been had previously in the day out of your soul and replaces it with blind and furious hatred of everything in the world. Ever.

Elly sobs from the back of the car.

"Yeah, that'll be right Polly. That's definitely what I want to do. I want to do this, every day, for ten days and spend one thousand three hundred pounds doing it."

Suddenly the car jerks forward. Polly has slammed her foot on the accelerator and is driving like Gene Hunt. I really am quite scared.

"Polly, please don't kill us all."


Polly is incredibly angry. She's really shouting this at the top of her voice. The last time she shouted at me like this was six years ago and we had to go and buy new crockery. I think there is a 24% chance that she will kill us all.

"Well Polly, if you're going to do it could you try to do it just on your side? Or wait until we get that brilliant insurance policy we were talking about the other night?"

Polly pulls over, gets out of the car and leans against a fence.

I go over and stand next to her. I poke her on the shoulder with my index finger. This is definitely the most comforting of all gestures.

We look back into the car. Elly is bent over in her car seat, wracking with sobs.

She says "Why does she do it?"

I say "Probably because she's five years old."

We sigh and giggle a bit.

I drive home.

(Theives threw a brick though my window last night and stole my laptop and my ipod, hence the lack of pictures)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bow down to the master of distraction, suckers.

"Put the number 3 back and take a small one," says Polly.

"No, my is giving the number 3 for Daddy," says Mick, proffering the number 3 shaped biscuit at me.

"I don't want it, put it back please," I say.

Mick walks up to the cooling rack and puts the small biscuit that we gave him permission to eat back. He keeps the enormous number 3 biscuit that he's been specifically forbidden from eating in his hand. He's got a look on his face which says "I fooled you all. Now I shall eat the massive number 3 biscuit and none of you will notice. Bow down to the master of distraction, suckers."

Bow down to the master of distraction, suckers.
I walk over to take the number 3 biscuit out of his hand. As he sees me coming he grabs it so tight that the biscuit explodes. He crumples to the floor and starts crying in humiliated despair.
Bow down to the master of distraction, suckers.

"Ha Ha Mick," says Elly.

I walk over to Elly who has her own biscuit, take the remaining biscuit out of her hand and put it back on the cooling rack.

"No, Daddy, I'm sorry, please give me back the biscuit." she whimpers.

I feel terrible because she's only had pancakes at after school club plus two pancakes with golden syrup once she got home plus half a 3 biscuit.

Poor kid.

"No, you shouldn't say "Ha Ha Mick," to Mick when he's crying. It's really cruel."

She moans a defeated "Oh,", walks into the hall and sits on the stairs.

Five minutes later we hear her start to cry.

"Oh, I can't do anything, I can't even play on Cbeebies."

"Oh, I can't do anything, I can't even play on Cbeebies."

"Oh, I can't do anything, I can't even..."

"Yeah, I can hear you," I say.

"Daddy, please can I play on Cbeebies?" she says, although because she's crying so much it sounds like "Da had ad ad eee eee eee, ple hease ca haan I play hay eh hay eh hay or hon sea bee hee bees?"

"No Elly, No,"

"Why not Daddy?"

I rack my brains for a way out. I consider "It's O.K. with me, but you'll have to run it past Mum first" which I learnt from Polly the other day, but decide against it.

"Wait here, I just need to get the instruction manual for how to look after you that they gave us when you were born," I say, jumping up to find a childcare manual.

"Polly, have you seen the instruction manual for the children?" I say.

"Which one?" she asks.

"Oh, it doesn't matter, I found it," I say, pulling down the NCT Complete Book of Unrealistic Expectation and opening it at random.

"O.K. Elly, lets see what the instruction manual says, let's see - ah here it is, listen to this - "If your child is crying whilst asking for something you must never give it to her. If you do, you will break your child."

Elly fixes me with a helpless look. She suspects that I'm lying to her but that she also understands that she has no way of verifying this.

Bow down to the master of distraction, suckers.
She sighs, stops crying, turns away in disgust and walks off.

I look down at the book in my hands. The page says "Remember, you are the adult, you owe it to your child to treat her with love and, most importantly, honesty."

Bow down to the master of distraction, suckers.
I made that last bit up. The book really said "If the object is sharp or quite large, call your doctor for advice." but that doesn't really resonate as harmoniously.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I am a cycle pistol.

“Where are you going?” says Polly.

I am turning left on autopilot from Hills Road into Cherry Hinton Road on my bicycle, really enjoying the concrete cycle filter which even has it’s own traffic light just for bicycles. The light is green so I am luxuriating in my unimpeded and enhanced cycling experience until Polly shouts at me and I remember that we had discussed earlier the necessary route of cycling along Hills Road instead of going down Cherry Hinton Road because Cherry Hinton Road can be rather congested and dangerous, especially with the kids on the back of the bike.

“Shit, I am going the wrong way,” I say.

I slow down and watch Polly cycle off into the distance. I’m trapped in the filter and try to work out how to get out of it. Mick is on the back of the bike so I can’t bump up and down the kerb. I don’t want to push the bike backwards because the extra weight of Mick tends to make the bike behave in odd ways. The safest way is to continue forwards and try to cycle back round into the main road without killing myself or my child.

Before I can divert, a woman with blond hair and shades steps in front of my bike. She doesn’t notice me because she is focused entirely upon her mobile phone. She’s so engrossed that she’s not realised that the bike traffic light is green, that she is standing on the road or that I am about to cycle into her leg and arm and head.

I am a cycle pistol

Her boyfriend shouts at her to be careful. She looks up, notices me, shrugs then looks back down at her phone and carries on walking. No apology, no skip run, absolutely no reaction to indicate that she’s sorry for walking in front of me even though I’m on a green light.

I try to think of some really clever things to shout and come up with the following options:

“Excuse me, unless you are texting “I am standing in front of a bike even though there is a green light for bikes” then your text is very inappropriate.”


“Hey, See that green light, it has a picture of a bike, not an idiot doing texting on a mobile phone,”


“Thanks a lot, the prospect of having to start my bike again from standing for no real reason other than that you’re crossing the road whilst doing a text has helped me to appreciate just how brilliant momentum really is.”

I am a cycle pistol

None of these seem snappy or bitchy enough so I weigh up the following possibility…


When this one pops into my head I get very excited. It seems to me that this is one of those rare occaisions in life where I have a completely legitimate case for being allowed to shout fuck off at a person.

My weighing up process goes like this.

I am on a bike (plus)

I have a toddler on the bike (plus)

I am on a bike lane especially designed for bikes (plus)

The bike traffic light is on green (plus)

The woman is standing in the bike lane even though it is a green light (plus)

The woman hasn’t apologised or made any effort to accept that she is in the wrong and I am in the right (plus)

I am a cycle pistol

I calculate this to be six plus points to no minus points. As far as I can see there is absolutely no reason at all why I shouldn’t shout fuck off at this woman. I am totally elated. I pull back my shoulders and inflate my lungs, but suddenly a strange kind of calmness washes over me and a voice inside my head says “This woman is a total idiot, but you have a chance not to be. Why don’t you just try not shouting fuck off at the woman and see what happens?”

I am a cycle pistol

The voice in my head is right. Reluctantly I acquiese to it’s suggestion. I stare after the woman and watch her boyfriend shake his head.

The road is now clear but the bike traffic light has gone red so I have to wait. Every second I wait is a second that I berate myself “David, you should have shouted “FUCK OFF,” at her. You would have been so cool, shouting “FUCK OFF,” at her. You would have been just like the Sex Pistols on Bill Grundy. That would have really taught her a lesson. Oh why didn’t you shout “FUCK OFF,” at her? No wonder you were never in the Sex Pistols - you don’t know how to indiscriminately shout “FUCK OFF,” at people do you? You great big loser.”

Eventually the light goes green and I find my way back to my route. I cycle towards Polly along Hills Road cycle path, which is an small section of the road with a painted line and an icon of a bicycle painted on it. She is waiting for me just opposite Hills Road College.

As I cycle towards her she shouts “BE CAREFUL DAVID,”

She is shouting “BE CAREFUL DAVID,” because a Jaguar is pulling out of it’s drive and has nosed forward across the pavement and into the cycle lane just ahead of me.

I look at the Jaguar and pretend to be confused.

I slow down to a pathetic wobble, and then at the point where my bike is central to the Jaguar’s bonnet I pretend that I am concentrating so hard on trying to stay in the cycle path that I have to put my foot down on the floor in order to retain my balance.

I really ham it up, pointing my tongue out of my mouth in concentration, and putting my hand out to apologise to the Jaguar, mouthing “Sorry,” at the driver, but the driver is ignoring my performance.

I figure that the God of cycling has given me the Jaguar as a reward for my good behaviour towards the idiot woman so I simply stop my bike and wait for him to look at me, and then I point at the road mouthing “You’ve stopped over the cycle lane,”

He looks at me and mouths “I know,” as if he is really bored, but I can see that despite his insouciant air he is a beaten shell of an old man.

I am a cycle pistol

I am a cycle pistol.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh! (pretending to be surprised in the hope he won't get eyes rolled in a heartbreakingly irritated way at him)

Tonight's evening meal went like a dream.

That dream when you wake up in the morning and think to yourself "Oh my God, I killed all my family in my dream," and all day long you feel terrible anxiety and trauma but you can't remember why. Then you remember that you killed your family and you shudder with grief. Then you remember that you didn't actually kill your family, that it was only a dream and you sigh in relief only for the whole thing to repeat itself about thirty minutes later, all day long.

When I picked Mick up from Nursery he had six peppermint creams on a plate. I said "Lovely Mick, look at those lovely peppermint creams, thank God you finally moved out of that rubbish old room into a room where they do good stuff."

(I feel strange about typing God because I know my mum will be reading this and she hates it if you write "God" on a piece of paper because you are supposed to write G-d in case you destroy the paper and you destroy God's name. What about this then? Are these pixels real? Do you destroy God's name if you navigate away from this page? Perhaps you'd better just leave this page open forever, just in case.)

Martine said "Ha Ha Ha,"

I said "Are you going to share those Mick?"

"No, not share them," Mick says.

"Ha Ha Ha," says Martine.

"Ha Ha Ha, Yum Yum, Lovely Peppermint Creams!" I say, thinking to myself "I wish I could throw those peppermint creams in the bin. Those peppermint creams are absolutely the worst things that have ever been made ever."

I arranged for Polly to pick up Fish and Chips on the way home because we're out of food and I can't be bothered to cook tonight. Nigel says that's alright in "Appetite" where he writes a rule of "Don't cook every single day," although his latest book probably says "A day without cooking is a day without joy." or a more porno version of that (hello peverets doing searches for porno, I can see you through my stats).

Halfway through the meal it all kicks off because Elly really wants a desert but hates fish and chips and everyone else likes their meal but she doesn't. Mick meanwhile is remembering that the peppermint creams are his desert and he doesn't want to share them with anyone.

At this point I spot my dictaphone and hit "record" thinking it will make a good blog.

Elly: We're going to have two each, one for you one for me, one for you and one for me.

Mick: (pouting) No

Polly: Right, I tell you what Mick, because you've got a letter "M" there... (points to the cream in the shape of the letter M)

Mick: (shouting) No...

Polly: (voice raising an octave in brave enthusiasm) Oooh, you've got an M and a T.

Mick: No, I want, I want to eat 'em all, (with increasing anger) eat 'em all, eat 'em all.

(Polly distributes the peppermint creams between the two children)

Mick: (crying in outrage) No, NO!!!

Polly: Right Mick, yours go in the bin.

(Polly walks out of the room with the two plates of creams in her hand.)

Elly: (crying, as if a horse she loves has died) Mick's got more than me I don't even...

Mick: No, No, (crying) u huugh u huugh, waaaugh, No, (Screaming) I'm not. Put it out the bin, I want them.

Elly: Waaaagh, ahaaagh, ahaaagh, kehugh, ahaaagh,

Mick: Ugh huugh, ugh huugh,

Polly: (walking back into the room with the plates) Are you ready to start sharing them?

Mick: (mournfully) I'm not.

Polly: Ok, well then I'm going to put them in the bin.

Elly: Ahaaaagh, eeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh, errrrrrgh.

Mick: I want one.

Polly: Are you stopping crying Elly? Do you want one rather than none?

(Elly nods her head and starts eating her peppermint creams)

Mick: (standing up on his chair and grabbing helplessly at the air in front of him) Uuuuuuuuuuur huuuuuuuuur, no, ho those are mine, ho, (proper, full blown screaming) aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh, aaaaaaaaaaagh, no, no, no give me back Elly, no, give me back, no, give me back, I want you to give me back, no, no, give me back Daddy...

David: You need to share your food.

Mick: No, Don't.

David: Yeah, you do,

Mick, No, don't, aaaeeeaaaggh, aaaeeeaaagh, aaaeeeaaaggh, aaaaeeeaaagh... (this continues rhythmically every half second through the rest of the dialogue)

Polly: (spotting the dictaphone) What's going on with this? Why's it on?

David: (pretending to be surprised in the hope he won't get eyes rolled in a heartbreakingly irritated way at him) Oh!

Polly: Are you recording all this?

David: Yes

Polly: Why?

David: (guiltily shrugging) Make a good blog?

Polly: For fuck's sake, would you turn it off?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It was a brilliant day.

I woke up at 5.20 and pretended I couldn't hear Mick crying until Polly got up to get him.

Then I remembered that I am reading Jpod at the moment so I jumped out of bed, scooped Mick out of her arms saying "It's O.K. Polly, I'll get up with him, you get to sleep," and generally behaved as if I was the best dad in the world for about 10 seconds, then took Mick downstairs, put the telly on, lay on the sofa and read Jpod.

Then I went to work at a school I've never worked at before.

I taught that decimal fractions are really difficult to teach. Then I taught that the general concept of fractions can be made into really boring posters. Then I taught that Alcohol is really bad.

This third thing was my favourite thing to teach. On the notes it said "Describe some of the bad effects of alcohol (impairs driving, double vision, reduced inhibition)"

Stay away from that booze kids, you might do something you really want to do and end up a bit happier.

At lunchtime I read Jpod again.

Then I did some more teaching.

I taught that it's really hard to read a book that's too difficult for you to read, then I taught that it is frustrating to devise and rehearse a choral glockenspiel piece with percussion in a room full of other children who are also devising and rehearsing choral glockenspiel pieces, then I taught that the nrich maths website has hundreds of really challenging activities on it but tic tac toe and noughts and crosses are the best.

It was a brilliant day.

Then I came home and put some Jacket Potatoes in the oven, read Jpod again and went to pick up Mick from his nursery.

I made an excellent joke at Nursery. This is how it went.

"Hello," I said.

"Hello" said the Playleader in Mick's room. Let's call her Martine, which is her name.

"Did he have a good day?" I said.

"Yes," said Martine.

"Did Polly tell you about his hospital appointment on Monday?" I said.

"Yes," said Martine.

(Don't worry if you don't find all this hilarious, the joke is about to happen. You will know when it happens because you'll laugh your ass off)

"Mick did that today," said Martine, gesturing at a wall display of people made out of card and paper plates with a guitar made out of a cardboard box and strings.

"All by himself?" I said.

"No, other children helped him," said Martine.

"Oh. Please don't let other children work with him, he is a very gifted child, they probably ruined that work." I said (that is the first brilliant joke)

"Ha Ha Ha," said Martine.

"Did he do that one too?" I said, pointing to an alligator on the wall made out of egg boxes "You have to watch out leaving stuff about like that, he's awfully prodigious," (that is the second brilliant joke)

"Ha Ha Ha," said Martine.

"What about those computers? Did he build those for you? Mick, have you been upgrading the CPU for the Flamingos? Did you reconfigure the motherboards?" (Flamingos is the name of the room he is in. This is the third absolutely brilliant joke)

"I pity this child," said Martine.

Then I went to pick Elly up from her ballet class. That was also really hilarious because when I went to pick her up the people I went to pick her up from thought that they had lost her, but they hadn't, there was just a communication gap. Whilst I knew that they hadn't lost her the person in charge where I went to pick her up from didn't and she turned white and started shaking.

It was very funny, but also very terrible for the person who thought they had got my daughter kidnapped so I didn't laugh out loud. Instead I said "Don't worry, I've only come to get her coat, I know where she is, she's O.K." and generally acted like a mature thirty six year old, for about the second time in my life.

Then Mick and I picked Elly up and put her in the car and drove home.

Then Elly and Mick watched In the Night Garden and I read Jpod until I had finished reading the book.

Then Elly ate her Jacket Potato as if she was eating the most delicious meal in the world, groaning and closing her eyes with pleasure as she ate. I had to keep trying not to cry because a) the night before I'd made her pan fried fillets of mackerel with peas and new potatoes and she hated it, but tonight I threw a potato in the oven and she thought I was Gordon Ramsay b) it was really late thanks to me mis-timing the potatoes and c) I had been up since 5.30 and was beginning to feel tired.

Then I put them to bed.

Then I wrote "Bouncy Castles, Bouncy Castles, Bouncy fucking Castles..." in preparation for a stand up routine about bouncy castles.

Then Polly came home.

If it's any consolation, I hate the faux naive convention of starting a disproportionate number of paragraphs with the word "then" even more than you do.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Daddy, we're going to Pizza Express for a school trip.


"We're going to Pizza Express for a school trip."

"To Pizza Express?"

"Yes Daddy,"

"For a school trip?"

"Yes Daddy,"

"Is this the form?"

"Yes Daddy,"

"I'll fill it out today and you can take it in tomorrow."

"Oh, thankyou Daddy."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I am playing

Nanaca Crash!

Hence lack of blog action.

Today I ate too much spaghetti bolognese. I ate my adult portion. Then I ate another adult portion. Then I ate Elly's leftovers. Then I put some more meat sauce in the bowl and ate that. Then I ate two wooden spoonfuls of meat sauce whilst standing over the pan.

After this I took the kids up to get them ready for bed. They ambushed me at the top of the stairs, jumped on me and rode me as if I was their donkey bitch.

I was so full of spaghetti bolognese that I couldn't do anything except giggle in a high pitched effeminate way and cry out "NO, PLEASE STOP" repeatedly. At times my back was hurting, not in an achy way but in a sharp painful way like something was seriously wrong.

I was genuinely overpowered by their donkey riding mania and I thought to myself "There is a very real possibility that my children are going to kill me in the next five minutes."

Eventually I stopped crying out and merely concentrated on trying not to puke.

I saved myself by shouting "Who wants to watch In The Night Garden?"

While we watched In The Night Garden Mick jumped on my stomach 14 times.

It was a lot of fun.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What an enigmatic search term.

Some days I don't have anything to post and I think all day "What am I going to post?"

Other days I check my stats and someone does a search like this.

What an enigmatic search term.

I think it means that a man, lets call him Terry, had a friend ("Which friend was that Terry?" "The black one," "Oh yeah, your black friend. Is that my black friend too?" "Yeah, that's the one,") and Terry's friend fucked Terry's wife and now she is pregnant.

It could also be read as a tempting invitation "My black friend, fuck my wife now, she is pregnant."

What light was Terry expecting to find at the end of the tunnel?

I hope that my writing on the brilliant film "Notting Hill" (which, for those of you who haven't been paying attention, is an excellent treatise on how difficult it is to make love to the most beautiful (if slightly bad tempered) woman in the world, especially if you have a history of being caught getting blowjobs from prostitutes in LA, but if you persevere you will almost certainly be able to get her pregnant and even be successful enough to afford a paperback novel about a Greek man) helped Terry through his time of need.

If, Terry, you need a black friend to fuck your wife now that she is pregnant though, I cannot help, for two reasons.

Firstly, I am not your friend. Secondly, and seemingly quite importantly to you, I am not black, despite my mum's vaguely racist story that when I was born her black midwife said to her "That one's got black blood in him." (I can't think why the nurse would have said that to her, other than if she was some sort of clairvoyant and could see my massive future jewfro?)

Thanks for the invitation though.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I want to read my book in bed, but it's so dark that I can tell I'm not going to be able to read my book in bed.

It's dark.

The kitchen light is off. The back kitchen light is off. The living room light is off. The lounge light is off. The hall light is off. All the lights are off.
I want to read my book in bed, but it's so dark that I can tell I'm not going to be able to read my book in bed
That's because it's bedtime.

I suddenly feel very angry. I want to read my book in bed, but it's so dark that I can tell I'm not going to be able to read my book in bed. This is for two reasons:

1) Polly has gone to sleep. Just because she is tired. That means it's too dark for me to read. What a selfish woman. I absolutely hate her.

2) Polly has stolen and hidden my head torch. In order to find it I will need to wake her up and ask her where she's put it, then she'll tell me off for waking her up. GOD, she is SO SELFISH. I hate her even more.

I climb up the stairs. As I get to the top of the stairs I see a fragile shard of light cast itself across the landing through a crack in our bedroom door.
I want to read my book in bed, but it's so dark that I can tell I'm not going to be able to read my book in bed
Polly is awake. And she is reading.

My mood instantly changes. Everything is BRILLIANT. I can lie next to my wife who I love and read my book.

I brush my teeth, grab my book from the toilet, run into the bedroom, lie down, sigh in deep satisfaction and say "Where the fuck is my head torch Polly?"

Today I taught a girl whose name was Tuesday

Today I taught a girl whose name was Tuesday.
Today I taught a girl whose name was Tuesday
That is the end of my blog for today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I can count backwards, what do you think of that?

"If this is a romcom, kill the director,"

We like The Wombats.

I like Kill The Director a lot. A shameful amount. On Friday night I drove from Cambridge to Borough and listened to it on repeat all the way.

Last night on my way to a gig I spent twenty minutes playing the first sixteen bars of it repeatedly screaming the following amazing rap over the top of it:

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2,1,
I can count backwards,
What do you think of that?
I'm very very very clever,
Yes really,
That's because I've got a really big beardy."

For the duration of this breathtaking rapping experience I genuinely convinced myself that I had invented a new rapping style with a unique flow that could take over the nation. In my imagination this new sensation could only be improved by my friend Jon playing some blues guitar over the top.
I can count backwards, what do you think of that?
After about sixteen minutes the inevitable crushing moment of realisation hit. I was not the new Mike Skinner, I was, in fact, a fuzzy headed, dirty bearded, fat, lonely old mental man shouting desperately at himself in the car.
I can count backwards, what do you think of that?
Even worse, I began to entertain the possibility that, just maybe, my rap wasn't very good.

I continued doing the rap for another four minutes after this moment of enlightenment with decreasing enthusiasm and mounting embarrassment.

Finally I stopped the stereo and drove in silence. Alone. In the dark.
I can count backwards, what do you think of that?
The main reason I love "Kill The Director" is because it reminds me of my favourite film ever in the world where Hugh Grant manages, after only two and a bit hours, to impregnate the beautiful, down to earth (although she does have a little bit of a temper but you probably would too if you were in her position) (that position being the most famous film star in the entire world) woman Julia Roberts.

This is the first song that I've really managed to infect Mick with. He's developed a Pavlovian response to it. We listen to it on the school run. Every time we get to the chorus he starts babbling in tongues.

"The director help, help, help the man in the swimming, in the man, in the swimming, the man in the water, the director help him, help him, him, him, him do swimming in the water..."

"Daddy, what is a director?" asks Elly.

Good. A chance to explain something.

"Good question Elly. This song is about a man who is in love with a woman. He loves her so much that she makes him feel seasick,"

"Sea, inna sea, the director helping the man swimming inna sea," says Mick.

"I know that, but what is a director Daddy?"

"I'm getting to that. He feels nervous and sick because he loves the woman so much, but it makes him behave in a silly way, which means he can't make the woman he loves lie on a bench with him while she is pregnant and he is reading a book so he says "If this is a romcom, kill the director,"

"Yes, but Daddy, what is a director?" Elly is getting a bit angry.

"Right, well a romcom means a romantic comedy. It's a comedy where a man and a woman fall in love but find it impossible to be in love for lots of funny reasons for about two hours and everyone laughs and then feels happy because they fall in love and she will be pregnant at the end and he will read a best selling paperback of the time,"


"Hang on. Now, to make the film, the actors don't know what they should do, so the director is the man who makes the actors what to do. So the singer is saying "If my life is a film, then can someone kill the director, then my life might stop being such a tragic joke and I can get on with being in love without all these terrible things happening. So that's what a director is,"



"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, NOT A DIRECTOR," screams Mick. hurling a cement mixer at Elly's head.

"MICK, DON'T DO THAT," I shout as the cement mixer ricochets off the rear window into the back of my chair.

"MIIIIIIICK, DAAAAAAAAAADY," cries Elly. She is hitting him over and over again with her bookbag.

"THAT'S ENOUGH, STOP IT," I bellow in my best furious bellow.

I've twisted round in my seat to make eye contact with Mick. Mick can't see me because he is holding one hand over his face and blindly hitting back at his sister's book bag with the other. They are both shouting furious abuse at each other.
I can count backwards, what do you think of that?

I can't really see an end to this one. They've forgotten their original dispute and are now just channeling pure aggression. I've tried my one and only child management strategy (fearsome bellowing) so I start weighing up the pros and cons of crashing the car. Pros: The argument will stop, we will all die, it will be quiet and peaceful. Cons: None.

"If this is a romcom, kill the director, please," repeats the song.

I consider whether or not to turn down the frenzied orgy of distortion that's roaring out of the speakers.

The guitars drop out on the song.

After only two bars of bass drum and hi-hat, the car has fallen miraculously silent with gleeful anticipation, then, in unison, we all start shouting...

"This is no Bridget Jones. This is no. Bridget. Bridget.

This is no Bridget Jones. This is no. Bridget. Bridget.

This is no Bridget Jones. This is no. Bridget. Bridget.

This is no Bridget Jones. This is no. Bridget. Bridget."

This continues for another twenty eight seconds, at which point I reach my arm behind me shout "High Five" and grin as little hands start slapping mine and then each others.

"AGAIN, AGAIN" shouts Elly.

"AGAIN, AGAIN," shouts Mick.

"No, we're there now," I say, and press mute.
I can count backwards, what do you think of that?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Can you guess who I've been being inside my head for increasing periods of time over the last four days?

"Hello Polly,"

"Hello David,"

"I am reading a book in bed."

"Yes, I can see that through my eyes as I am getting changed for bed."

"Aren't we speaking formally to each other considering we've been married for two years, have two children and have lived together for nine years?"

"Yes, we are, but it certainly established the scene, the players and the relationships quickly."

"Yes. You are right. It's almost as if we never actually had this part of the conversation.

"I agree. Did you have something to say?" asks Polly.

"Can you guess who I've been being inside my head for increasing periods of time over the last four days?" I ask.

"Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall." sighs Polly, pulling her nightie on over her head.

(Erotic detail there for my peveret fanbase)
Can you guess who I've been being inside my head for increasing periods of time over the last four days?

I'm a bit disappointed as I only just realised that I've been being him in my head all day, particularly for the last few hours where I have been living out the 3 meals from one bird scene from "Chicken Nightmares", yet Polly didn't even have to guess.

"Oh, how did you know?"

"Well I'm not sure what it was that gave it away.

It might have been that you went on and on all throughout eating the chicken about how you weren't sure 'whether this chicken is, as I originally thought, free range or whether it was, disappointingly, a barn chicken because, when I read it the label only said "farm fresh" chicken so I better check with the butchers next time I go.'

Or it might have been because you then ignored the children at bedtime and ran over to the chicken to remove all the meat from the carcass.

Or it might have been because when I came back downstairs from putting the children to bed you gestured towards the pressure cooker as if you were some sort of magician and kept saying "Stock...stock...stock," until I said "Yes David, Well done, stock."

Can you guess who I've been being inside my head for increasing periods of time over the last four days?
Or it might have been because you then spent the next thirty minutes saying 'I don't know why I never made stock before, it's so easy and so rewarding, we should definitely make it all the time from now on.' You didn't just say it once, you said it six times. That's once every five minutes.

Or it might have been because you then started going on about the surprising amount of meat you had left over from the meal in exactly the same way that Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall said it on the program we watched on Tuesday.

Or it might have been because you then started talking about making a chicken risotto for tomorrow evenings dinner. The only risotto you've ever made is that prawn one.

Or it might have been because you spent most of the time that we spent watching Louis Theroux staring at your Fish book and touching it like you did with your ipod when you first got that."

"So it was really obvious then?"

"Well actually, for you, it was pretty low key. The only time that alarm bells really started ringing were when I came home from Ely and you opened the door to me and instead of saying 'Hello, did you have a nice time? How's your dad?' you said 'POLLY - DID YOU KNOW THERE'S A WOMAN WHO RESCUES BATTERY CHICKENS AND THEY CAN LAY EGGS FOR ANOTHER EIGHT YEARS AFTER THEY'VE BEEN SAVED AND IF WE GOT A CHICKEN WE COULD STOP BUYING INTO THE EGG INDUSTRY AND WOULDN'T HAVE TO KILL ANY MALE CHICKS, THEY GAS THEM AT BIRTH, WE COULD HAVE IT IN THE GARDEN, IT'D MAKE A GOOD PET, I WILL TAKE TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT AND LOOK AFTER IT ALL BY MYSELF, YOU COULD DO JUST THE BITS YOU WANTED TO, DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS WE COULD PROBABLY KILL IT AND EAT IT AND THEN GET ANOTHER ONE AFTER WE GET BACK...' and I thought 'Oh fuck, he's going to stop doing comedy and try to start a fucking chicken farm,'

Can you guess who I've been being inside my head for increasing periods of time over the last four days?
I put my head in my hands and start laughing. Then I pick my book back up.

"Polly, did you know that eels have to swim all the way to the Sargasso Sea to mate? It really is fascinating, I love eels. I always have. We should definitely be eating more fish Polly, except not eels, that's not ethical, they've got an MSC rating of 5 which is don't eat, it's so brilliant because when it says '5' on the little box here Hugh also writes 'don't eat' oh, he's so brilliant isn't he?"
Can you guess who I've been being inside my head for increasing periods of time over the last four days?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Acer Aspire 3660


I will continue to pepper this throughout my blog.

Hopefully people will put "Acer Aspire" or "Acer" or "Acer Aspire 3660" or "Are Acer's any good?" or "Acer Aspire review" or "Acer's are SHIT" into google and get this web page.

If you are considering buying one, especially a refurbished one from Morgan DO NOT.



I have written a good blog about Mick and Elly and I and The Wombats but I wanted to upload some footage of them singing and dancing before I blogged it.

This morning I took Elly swimming via Maplin to buy an PCMIA IEEE1394 card so that I could plug my camera in. It took me forty five minutes of not cooking Elly's lunch to realise (NO BLOGGER REALISE IS NOT SPELT REALIZE YOU STUPID TOSSER) that I should give up and not try to get the card to work any more.

Every 2 seconds when I try to install something it says "Cannot find driver. You need your WINDOWS XP MEDIA EDITION DISK 2 DISC"

That'd be fine, well, it'd be fine if you liked spending an inordinate amount of your life locating cds and putting them into the computer every time you wanted to "plug and play" so actually NOT FUCKING FINE AT ALL but when I tried to make my Windows XP Media Edition discs this ACER ASPIRE 3660 that I brought REFURBISHED FROM MORGAN ELECTRONICS had a heart attack and died and then came back to life never to let me make the discs so I've always had to add .sys files individually, one by one, downloading them off the internet.

I also got involved in a $20.00 scam from these fuckers, who take your money then say "WE WILL EMAIL YOU THE DRIVER IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS."

What? I thought it would be an immediate access to your library? OH NO APPARENTLY NOT, APPARENTLY THAT'S IT, $20 FOR ONE LOUSY NON EXISTENT DRIVER.

I drove BACK to Maplin to get my money back then went to PC world to get a Belkin card.

This worked - I only had to download 4 .sys files to get it going.

Then I plugged my video camera in and it went mental. I had to find and add at least 20 .sys files by hand, after which it said "Cannot recognise (NO BLOGGER, RECOGNISE IS NOT SPELT RECOGNIZE YOU STUPID TOSSER AGAIN) your A/V device."

Today it has been a great big windy day. The kites are in the hall.

The kids, however, are sitting in front of the other computer playing on the "LEARN TO WATCH TV" website while I've been trying to get the camera to work for the last four fucking hours.

I just shouted "Who wants to go fly a kite?" and the only repsonse was Polly saying "What time is it David? What are we doing about dinner, Do you know what, I think it might be, how much are you gunning for it?"

"Not much,"

"Right, well..."


I am nearly crying.

So, if you are considering buying a refurbished Acer Aspire 3660 and you like crying, you are making the right choice.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What's so special about today?

"I like you now Daddy," says Elly to me as I close the car door.

I think about what she's just said as I walk around to my seat.

"What did you just say?" I say.

"I like you now Daddy," she says.

"Now? Did you not like me before?" I ask.

"No, I didn't used to like you, but now I like you," she says.


I sit and think for a little while. I've suspected that she didn't like me for a long time - about two years - but have always assured myself with the fact that she's too young to have any control over her emotions. It now appears as if I need to re-assess this assumption.
What's so special about today?

"Yes Daddy?"

"When did you decide that you like me?" I ask.

"Today," she says.


I wonder what's so special about today. What have I done for the first time today that I haven't done before? Granted, I am being fairly attentive at the moment, have driven in to collect her early and don't even intend to surf the internet aimlessly when we get home whilst ignoring her like I usually do, but she can't read my intentions, so what is so special about today?

"What's so special about today?" I ask.

"Today I can see your head while you drive the car. I've never been able to see it before so I didn't like you, but now that I can see your head while you drive the car I really, really, really like you." she says.
What's so special about today?
Of course.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Basically, I ate quite a lot of pork and became a bit sweaty and anxious.

Polly had a birthday so we all thought it'd be a good idea to drive up to Walberswick beach.

We spent most of the day in the car, then at a cafe in Walberswick where Polly ate a normal adult sized bite of Elly's shortbread which led to Elly having a full blown nervous breakdown.

I took her out of the cafe to lovingly talk her down.
Basically, I ate quite a lot of pork and became a bit sweaty and anxious
She perfomed such a convincingly tearjerking rendition of inconsolable innocence that another diner came over to give her (Elly) all the cream and chocolate flake bits from her (other diner) dessert, saying "Be happy now," to her.

We then went to fly our kites on the beach for the forty remaining minutes of sunlight left in the day.

First of all I smashed my powerkite into a beach hut.

Then Polly tangled all the strings up because when I tugged the strings meaning "Drop the strings" she thought I was meant "Really tangle the strings up worse than they have ever been tangled up"

Finally we got lost on the beach and ended up wandering backwards and forwards in the dark trying to find the way back to the car.

Polly likes this kind of thing though. Once in Nepal we climbed up a mountain using a footpath and "explored" our way down which eventually involved aiming at a tree and hurling ourselves down the 1:2 incline, blindly hoping that the tree would withstand the impact and stop us from falling all the way down the mountain.
Basically, I ate quite a lot of pork and became a bit sweaty and anxious
Then we drove to Southwold to the fish and chip shop. (Not after we got down the mountain in Nepal, that would've been an interminably long drive, after we got back to the car at Walberswick.)
Basically, I ate quite a lot of pork and became a bit sweaty and anxious
It was closed. We drove home.

We had a great 40 minutes on the beach, but it seemed like a bit of a long drive to achieve it. I didn’t have a very good drive down either.

On Saturday I'd decided that we would have Roast Loin Of Pork for dinner. I'm a big fan of Pork, in spite of, or maybe because of the being Jewish thing.

When people come over to our house to eat for the first time they'll often, absolutely hilariously, say something like "Will we be having Pork?" expecting me to react in some sort of negative way.

Basically, I ate quite a lot of pork and became a bit sweaty and anxious

I thought a Roast Loin of Pork would be a great end to the post Christmas binge eating festival that's been running at our house.

We ate lots of pork and watched that lovely film where Hugh Grant gets very anxious about whether or not he will fuck Julia Roberts and then he does fuck her (romantically) and looks at her tits too (in a really amusing way) only to get chucked, and then get back together with her and make her pregnant so she can lie pregnantly on a bench with him while he reads Captain Correlli’s Mandolin. It was superb.

It was really lovely for me to imagine Julia Roberts having Hugh Grant’s baby – the actual birth.

We decided to save some Pork for the next day’s sandwiches. Well, Polly said “David, you should probably stop eating the Pork at some point,” and I said “Can we have it in sandwiches tomorrow?” and she said “O.K.”

Whilst I was cutting up the pork for sandwiches the next day I was reminded of the following line in "Real Cooking" by Nigel Slater where he, somewhat irresponsibly, writes "And I cannot be the only person who tears a strip of crackling off a cold roast to chew while I read the paper,"

Firstly you should never ever start a sentence with the word “and”. And secondly you shouldn’t encourage someone as greedy as me to eat more crackling the next day.

Despite it’s recklessness, I've always liked this notion and this being the first time I'd ever had a cold piece of roast pork with crackling on I thought this would be a chance for me to finally live out the fantasy only without the newspaper or the reading or the general relaxed scenario that Slater lazily conjures up, preferring to stand desperately over a work surface covered with discarded packed lunch prep detritus, shoving it into my mouth as fast as I can before being caught in the act by my wife.
Basically, I ate quite a lot of pork and became a bit sweaty and anxious
(“Really? That’s the only time you’ve done that in your whole life?” says Polly.

”I only started roasting Pork about a year ago, before then I was always a bit scared of doing it” I say.

Polly looks at me with amused incredulity “You’ve certainly made up for it.” she says.)

So, living the dream, I ate up all the left over crackling from the night before while I cut the pork into bite sized pieces to put into a tupperware box. It wasn’t that good to be honest, but I thought I had to keep doing it because that’s what Nigel wanted.

Obviously I also ate up a few of the bite sized pieces of pork just to see what they tasted like cold (nice, in case you are wondering).

I didn’t mention that as it was Polly's birthday we'd had bacon and eggs for breakfast. I had 3 rashers of bacon.

Twenty minutes into the journey to Walberswick Mick said he didn't want his ham sandwich so I scoffed that too.

Five minutes after the ham scoffing I realised that I’d eaten myself into a full blown porkadose.

I started feeling really nauseous and burping up horrific pork burps which sent me into another spasm of Nausea. This got progressively worse throughout the journey, climaxing with an exquisite twenty minute depression which ended with me shouting "I need to visit the toilet NOW," the second we arrived in Walberswick, then sitting in the toilet with my head in the hands counting the ways in which I was a failure then realising that if I didn’t stop counting it’d be dark then walking around in the freezing cold with just my jumper on for 20 minutes until the sweating stopped.

Basically, I ate quite a lot of pork and became a bit sweaty and anxious. Maybe I should have just written this one line. Would that be a better blog?

I resolved not to eat any more pork ever again.

When I got home that evening I had Pork in Pitta Bread.

This lunchtime I had the left over left over Pork with noodles, and this evening I sucked the meat off the Pork Bones that I used to flavour our curry.

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