Wednesday, 29 February 2012



TBW gets a new game for his wii?

A game combining his two favourite things - Star Wars and Lego (three if you include the fact it's a video game)?

And he doesn't want to stay over with his Dad tonight you say?


What a fucking surprise.


Tuesday, 28 February 2012


A little while ago I moved from the village that had the pleasure of my residence for a few months. I moved over to the other side of the city and the suburb that I now call home is about as middle class as you get in these parts. People buy houses here because the schools are good, because there is a Marks & Spencers and a Waitrose and because there are a respectable number of small independent shops staffed by well-turned out middle-aged ladies with names like Margot and Penelope selling knick-knacks for your home that I don't understand*. 

It being slightly more hip than my previous location (by which I mean a higher proportion of the population still have their own) there is also a Costa coffee shop. I know this because we were there recently enjoying a cappuccino and a cake. As I relaxed on the artfully shabby leather sofa I noticed a quite startling array of security cameras (circled in red) in the ceiling:

There was actually another camera that I couldn't get in shot, pointing at the toilets. I don't even want to think about that.

I'm really not sure quite what they're expecting. Did they think that there was a real danger that one of the customers might react violently to a story in The Guardian relating to slipping educational standards, which could lead to a coffee shop brawl? Maybe they thought the local church Open Mike night** on a Sunday evening might end in rowdiness and violence?

Or maybe I'm just missing the point. Maybe in this era of multi-faceted, multi-media business, Costa have their own TV channel showing the comings and goings of their customers in a Big Brother format.

"Day 37, and Andrew is wondering if a biscotti is just a biscuit, but smaller and more expensive."


* - Small bits of painted wood with platitudes written on them in unusual fonts appear to be very much in vogue.

** - I haven't made this up for comic effect.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Oh dear.

A little history for you, dear reader.

A while ago I bought a watch. It wasn't the most expensive one I have ever bought, but it wasn't the cheapest either. To be honest, I think the shop assistant did some kind of Jedi mind-trick on me, because I never really actually liked this particular watch very much but still it ended up in my possession. I tried to like it, truly I did. I wore it a few times but it always ended up back in the box, tucked away. Eventually I decided to let it go and advertised it for sale on a watch website. All good so far.

This is where the tale parts company from the rails a little.

I got a message from a guy who said he liked my watch*, but didn't have the cash to buy it. He did, however, have a cycle that he was prepared to swap for my unloved watch plus a bit of cash from me. It would seem that The Force was strong in this one too, as I'd been struggling to get back into running with any enthusiasm since last year's marathon, the swimming was OK but not really grabbing me and I'd been thinking about starting to get out on my trusty** mountain bike as the weather begins to improve to keep myself fit.

I googled the bike. It looked like a great deal. I thought I'd chance my arm and say that I was really after the cash, but if he'd do a straight swap then I'd go for that. Much to my surprise he agreed. Once I'd checked the frame number to make sure it wasn't stolen the deal was done. I was happy to a disproportionate degree and it was at this point that it dawned on me.

If I wasn't such a snob my ideal job would undoubtedly be Market Trader. I love wheeler-dealing.

Anyway, here's the new hardware:

I think it was a blinding deal, the beautiful FMA thinks I'm nuts. Will it become an integral part of my fitness regime over the coming months or will it end up back on the interwebz to be exchanged for something equally as random? Only time will tell.

But I am thinking about London to Paris now........


* - No, this is not a euphamism.
** - This is a euphamism, for elderly. And heavy.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Size Matters

This morning I was up pretty early. My alarm went of and I was out of bed faster than Ben Johnson coming out of the chemist*, which is quite unusual for me. Suffice to say I am not usually a morning person. A crowbar/flamethrower/rabid dog is usually required to encourage me out of a warm bed on a winter's morning.

Maybe it was the fact that the sun was shining and mother nature was trying on her first spring outfit of the year, maybe it was because I'm starting to feel a little more human again after several days of a cold I just couldn't shift, maybe it was that I knew I had to get The Boy Wonder back to his mum before going to work. Whatevever it was I love these days. I love the feeling of being ahead of the curve at the start of the day, I just wish I could do it more often.

The other benefit of my non-horizontal aspect this morning was that the lovely FMA got coffee and toast made for her and delivered to her in bed. This is one of her most favourite things in the whole world so she was a happy bunny indeed. We have quite different requirements from our coffee - see below:

Mine's the one on the right. It's probably a good thing that I'm not an insecure kinda guy. The Boy Wonder thinks it's hilarious.


* - Yes, I know this speaks volume about my age, but it's a turn of phrase I have loved for years. Just like "I have more chance of humping Madonna".

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Longest Post I Have Ever Written.

See what happens if you take your eye off the ball?

There I was, merrily watching the oddballs of London for entertainment purposes, and I go and get myself tagged by Dlae over at Midlife Rambler. A funny chap with a funny blog and definitely worth a read....

Anyhoo, the rules are as follows....

  • Post 11 random things about yourself.
  • Answer the 10 questions set by the person who tagged you.
  • Pick 10 people to tag.
  • Set 10 new questions.

The 11 random things seems to jar a bit, given the decimal nature of all the other points, but in a departure from my usual modus operandi Them's The Rules And I'm Sticking To 'Em.

11 Random Things About Me.
  1. I have no middle name. My parents always joke that I looked as though I'd have enough trouble remembering one name when I was born. At least I think they were joking.
  2. I have never seen The Shawshank Redemption all the way through.
  3. I can happily drink an espresso and then go straight to bed (and even sleep too, if necessary).
  4. I can juggle, but not very well.
  5. I have genuinely believed I was going to die, but it all worked out OK in the end.
  6. I still secretly think I'd be ace at poker, despite all evidence to the contrary.
  7. I am currently suffering with a cold that I've had for over a week. This is unheard of for me. I get about a gazillion colds per year, but they only last 1-2 days at most. It's The Law.
  8. The place I would most like to be right at this minute is sitting on a balcony in the sun, reading a book and occasionally having a slurp of gin and lemon fanta.
  9. I'm quite accurate with a shotgun.
  10. Faced with a choice between Beluga Caviar and a bacon sandwich with tomato sauce, it'd be the butty all the way.
  11. I have been in sole charge of a vehicle doing more than 170mph. It was less scary than you might have thought.
And now, questions set by Dlae:
  1. Favourite alcoholic beverage? - I guess it'd have to be a nice glass of red. I like Malbec hugely.
  2. Technical gadget you can't live without? - Dead easy, this one - without a doubt my iPhone. It's with me pretty well all the time and has my whole life on it.
  3. Favourite movie you like and everyone else hates? - Probably Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead. I've not seen it for ages, but I kinda get the feeling I was in the minority for thinking it was worth 115 minutes of your life.
  4. Coffee with one person, who would it be? - Probably David Beckham. I think he's had one hell of a life but seems to have remained relatively normal. I suspect he's a fair bit brighter than the persona he shows to the world too.
  5. Quote that you find inspiring or funny? - Fall down seven times, get up eight. I think it's some old piece of oriental wisdom, but it could just as easily be from some 80's teen-flick. Although my Gran had a great quote that she used whenever pressed on whether or not she'd ever remarry. "I wouldn't have another one if his arse was stuffed with diamonds." Quite a mental image for the 15 year old me.
  6. Porn - scourge of society, OK in the right doses or just can't get enough? - Well, I'm a bloke, so the second one obviously.
  7. Worst job you ever had? - Washing up in a restaurant as a teenager. I knew it was time to leave after I ate the chef's dinner by mistake. He looked very cross and had access to large, sharp knives.
  8. E-reader or actual book? - Absolutely Kindle all the way. I am hooked.
  9. Why do you blog? - It kinda started out as a diary but has changed into a diary/soapbox/social tool/therapist/mate-in-pub/ranting-at-strangers sort of thing. The truth is, I'm really not too sure myself, but I enjoy it so why not?
  10. Biggest guilty pleasure? - I don't really do anything that I actually feel guilty about, so I'm not really sure what to put here. That's not to say I don't have a propensity to do things that other people may find odd, but I just don't feel guilty about them. I think I suffer from Social Filter Suppression Syndrome. Let's just say I quite like to put a tea-cosy on my head from time to time. Lovely.
So, now I need to pass this tag on - the lucky winners are:

Auntie Gwen
Nota Bene
Curry Queen
Scarlet Blue
About Last Weekend
Colonel Knowledge
O. Bliss

The more eagle eyed amongst you will note that pretty well sums up everyone on the list of bloggers that I know except Dlae (originator of the list) and TTT (already tagged by Dlae). I think the Japanese refer to that as a 'harmonious alignment'.

And (Finally!) my 10 questions for my tagees*:

  1. What personal possession would you save from the house if it were to inexplicably catch fire?
  2. If you won £45m on the lottery, what would be the very first thing you bought?
  3. What has been the best moment of the last 12 months?
  4. And the worst?
  5. Who was your childhood hero?
  6. If you found a twenty pound note in the street, would you keep it or hand it in?
  7. What's your favourite TV show ever?
  8. What's the most you've ever lost in a bet?
  9. How did you get to work today?
  10. If you could be the best in the world at one sport, what would it be?

Have fun!


* - Why yes, of course it's a real word.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Squashed Tomatoes And Stew

Today is The Boy Wonder's 6th Birthday.

Happy Birthday Sunshine, you mean the world to me.

I just wish you wouldn't keep taking calls from your broker during dinner.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Big Smoke

Today I have been in London. There have been many points of interest on today's foray including:

• An elderly rocker looking like he'd just come out of a Def Leppard gig in 1987, complete with snakeskin spandex trousers and stars 'n stripes Ray-Bans. Not stars 'n stripes frames, mark you. Oh no. Stars on one lens 'n stripes on the other. He was walking very slowly and deliberately so I rather suspect they were hand painted.

• A twenty something lad wearing pink shorts and a camel coloured suit jacket. He looked young enough for it to be a fashion statement, rather than him just being fecking mental.

But my favourite scene of today was played out within 20 minutes of me getting to our capital. On the Victoria Line between Warren Street and Oxford Circus.

A middle-aged woman sits reading biology text book.She turns the page and knocks her bag off of her lap.

Bag falls to floor.
Dildo falls out of bag and rolls across carriage floor.
Woman retrieves and places back in bag.
No one says a word or smiles.

I love London, even I seem normal here.


Thursday, 2 February 2012

David & Goliath

Yesterday I had two skirmishes with Big Business PLC.

The first was a phone call as I was driving back to the office. It was from the company* who supplied my gas and electricity for my old house. They wanted to know why I hadn't paid my final bill.

I told the very nice lady that when I'd moved out I phoned them with the meter readings and was told that final bills would be sent. Which I had yet to receive. This statement was met with some degree of suspicion, although to be fair I guess it wouldn't be the first time that day she'd heard the phrase "I ain't not seen nuffink" from a delinquent debtor.

She informed me that the bill had been sent out a week ago, I asked if it had been sent to my business address as I requested at the time, she checked, read out the name of my company (win) followed by the address of my old house, where I no longer live (fail).

I pointed this out to her and explained that I no longer have access to the house on account of no longer living there. I expected (foolishly) that she would say something along the lines of "Oops, I'm so sorry your Eminence**, that explains it all, it was our mistake. We'll post a new invoice to the correct address if you'd be so kind as to provide it."

Not a bit of it.

She told me that I must have given the operator the wrong address. Quite clearly the Law of Parsimony is not part of their training handbook. Sigh. I gave her the correct address again and told her that I would be happy to pay the bill when it arrives.

Later, The Business Partner and I were discussing the cost of our business insurance. Despite never having made a claim the renewal notice has come in several hundred pounds higher than last year.

The following works best if you think of it in the style of "24", but without Kiefer Sutherland or guns***.....

15.45 GMT
I phone the number on the renewal notice, navigate the myriad options and wait on hold until I get to speak to a human being.

15.50 GMT
I explain the situation and say that I'd like to see if we can get the cost down to a reasonable level. The chap in the call centre tells me that he'll need to put me through to the correct department, if I don't mind waiting on hold for a moment. WTF? What was all the "in order to deal with your call more efficiently please throw a six to start using our system" bullshit? Surely I should have gone straight through to the correct department in thew first place. I bite my tongue and wait on hold.

15.55 GMT
I get through to another lady, I explain the situation, she tells me that if I am prepared to wait for a moment she will transfer me to the correct department.

16.00 GMT - 16.20 GMT
Repeat above x 3. I snap. I inform the current chap that although I thought my request was quite straightforward people appear to be misunderstanding me and putting me through to the wrong department. I simplify the request.

"You are trying to put up our prices for no good reason. If I can't speak to someone now who can reduce this price then I will move ALL of our business from you and place it elsewhere."

There was silence. It was followed by hold music, followed by a cheery lady who took my phone number, address and solemnly promised that someone from their Customer Retention Team would contact me within a week.

The Customer Retention Team are probably standing on the doorstep of my old house as I type, shivering in the cold and wondering where I am.


* - No names, no pack drill. Oh OK, it was Scottish Power. 
** - Hey, you've got to aim high, right?
*** - Unfortunately.