Saturday, 17 December 2011

Birthday Post

pbsIt’s bad enough, when born this time of year, to be told “Oh I’d have got you a birthday present but I’ve got you a bigger Christmas present” by cheap skates hoping to pull the wool over already tried before eyes. But what’s worse, especially recently in the UK, is the chuffing post.


While all around me are putting up their Christmas cards in displays of social popularity I have to hold off opening cards I receive before my birthday, which, if you didn’t know, is today. A few years back I realised that when my birthday arrived I had fewer birthday cards to open on the actual day than my peers because I had opened mine by accident thinking “Oh it’s a Christmas card, it should be safe”. So recently I have taken to stock piling the cards received through the mail until the actual day and then I have a mass card opening ceremony.


Usually I get about a 3:2 birthday/Christmas card mix with some cheeky sods trying to sneak a Christmas card in with the birthday card or, if they’ve thought ahead they put the birthday card in with the Christmas card (which I don’t mind as long as that’s in an envelope marked “birthday”). However, over recent years the Post Office in Warwickshire have been a bit shit and cards sent way in advance don’t arrive until way into the later weeks so my pre-birthday Christmas card opening abstinence seems to be a bit futile.


manLast year the postie had a good excuse. Most of the UK and Warwickshire was under a thick blanket of snow and poor Postman Pat was at risk of slipping on the pavement. Meaning they would be having to take time off work with a sprained foot and a personal injury claim. Fair enough. This modern snow can be lethal. Those Victorian and postWW2-pre HSWA(1974) postmen had it easy. I’m surprised today’s postmen don’t have to wear special wire lined gloves in case they get a rather nasty infected paper cut from an overtly sharp envelope.


Last year’s snows and postage backlogs meant that I was getting birthday cards well into the New Year, which was nice. Amusing in a “Ne’r mind eh?” kind of way.


plaThis year though, I thought it would be better. No snow in the midlands. Not a drop. Well at least in Leamington Spa at any rate. Through the week I had received a good few cards through the mail. I’d say about 9 or so. A few who’s origins I could guess and a few I could not. It was going to be a good birthday morning, opening these cards.


Just after my breakfast of Cinnamon Grahams and a cup of tea, I began the opening ceremony. One by one I gingerly teased each card out of it’s envelope revealing either ageist birthday mirth or greetings of seasonal persuasion.


The score was roughly





A nice balance. But no fear, I thought, it is Saturday today! The Royal Mail still deliver on a Saturday. Maybe I’ll get some in the post today!


Of course, sitting round expectantly is not something I can do these days, so we opted to brave the early morning cold and penultimate-Christmas-weekend  shoppers and grab a few things before we came home for the afternoon to see what exciting things were in line for the rest of the day.

All the while I was like “heheh I can’t wait to get home to the mountain of cards that will be awaiting me on my doorstep”.


It was the spirit that enabled me to battle through the shuffling horde of consumer zombies.


The vim that vigorously calmed my need to vent venom at gawping gormers goggling at festive gifts of grot.


The spice that added fire to my mental curry of warmth empowering me through the ice knife cold Warwickshire winds. 


So you can imagine my face when I opened the front door with the eagerness of an expectant child on Christmas morning only to find….














there was for Fruitcake.

Chuffing Nora.


NOT A SINGLE ONE delivered today was for me. NOT ONE.







Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Spare not the children, lest the evil persist

The other week, Zoefruitcake and I visited our local Frankie and Benny's for a bit of a post payday treat.

It was busy; mostly because it was Halloween but also because it was the day after pay day and the world, his wife, their neighbours and their best friend's uncle's favourite mechanic's son also had the same idea.

Because it was Halloween weekend there were many children present. A good deal of these children were sat, well behaved and happy to be out with their family. There was, however, a pair of little shits present whose parents obviously went to the "freedom of expression" school of parenting. These delightful little darlings thought it fun to run rampant around the restaurant squealing with glee instead of remaining seated and only speaking when spoken to.

spoiled-bratSpoilt shits.

You know the type. They usually have traditionally cheeky scamp names like Bob or Tommy. The type of names traditionally apportioned to working class flat cap wearing, roll-up cigarette smoking betting shop regulars but, for some bizarre reason only known to fashionable middle class Guardian readers, deemed preferable to Tarquin, Charles and Gordon.

The type whose parents, as stated previously, believe in "freedom of expression". The same parents who probably inexplicably develop a "cough" when walking near smokers. Or fuss about their children and whatever food allergy or intollerance may be fashionable at the time. The type of parent that any normal person would want to smash into a granite table face first before flushing their head repeatedly down a particularly dirty toilet.

The type of child who runs around restaurants unbidden. Screaming and tripping up waitresses. Any accidents that arise are clearly the fault of the waiting staff not taking care when carrying a tureen of boiling soup or molten lard.

That got me thinking.

Bloody kids.

When I was a kid at a restaurant (or, more likely, a Berni Inn) , if I didn't sit straight, shut up and eat my greens provided with my scampi and chips the likelihood of eating out again would diminish to the point of never again. But no, not these chuffing days. Noooo. These days it seems it is totally socially acceptable to allow your child to run rampant with no regard for other diners or waiting staff.

All in the name of "freedom of expression".

kitchen-classics-steak-knife-59kszSo to express my own freedom, I rose from my chair, went over to the little shits, grabbed them by the collars. Dragged them over to their parents who were sat, jaws agape in protest. Threw them into their seats and said: "If you don't fucking control your children I will pickle them and feed them to the tramps."

"Oh but they're only expressing themselves" came the protest.

"Yeah well I'm expressing myself freely too." I retorted as I stabbed the father in the nose with his blunt steak knife and forced the mother to swallow her barbequed rib bones whole. Sideways.

"Do you want a starter?" Zoe asked, snapping me out of my daydream.

"No, let's get straight to mains" I replied.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Censor this

It started about the 17th September. Groups of people from all walks of life gathered in Wall Street in America in protest of the growing corporate culture. The movement is called Occupy.


There has been frighteningly little news about this in the British media. I’m not saying it has not been reported; it has. I am not shocked by this as unless children get hurt or someone famous gets arrested at the event it was unlikely it would get reported.


Monitoring the news this week has been interesting. Very little in the way of actual news. Slow news week. Slow news. Nothing to worry about…move along…But scratch beneath the surface, read between the lines and you notice things.


Little things. Like the problem with the Blackberry mobile phone network. Curious that it happens here just as the Occupy movement swells in Europe and, indeed the UK. Cast your mind back to the events in August. Riots organised by youths….USING BLACKBERRYS. Cut off the network. Invent some crap about a server malfunction. Cut off the communication of the youth. Prevent gatherings and organised flash protests. Then what happens? The problem spreads to the US. Coincidence? Maybe.


Then there’s the disappearing links on Facebook. I tried sharing a link to a news story drawing attention to the movement. Mysteriously it vanished a few hours later. I pasted a link in a comment to a friend. It too mysteriously vanished. Paranoia? Cake?? Misdirection?


Something stinks. I don’t like it. When people start disappearing, it will be too late.




Further reading:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


I’m feeling particularly let down and screwed over but I’m not allowed to say anything other than by circumstance and timing.


Basically I have been without pay since July due to miscommunication, crossed lines and “trying to save dead money” and it doesn’t seem like I’m going to get paid for the work I’ve done this month until the end of October. Which sucks.


However, there are attempts to rectify this or at least alleviate the situation but all holding breath does is mean you are eventually out of puff. Irons in various fires are not reaching the desired temperature and every so often the universe teases me with little pitfalls like £200+ dental bills and other such similar digs. But for me to go on about it is me succumbing to the poor me paradigm and that won’t do.


Instead let me set forth a plan or at least some ambition.


Career wise my aspirations are taking shape. What is clear is that IT is not for me. Nor has it been since 2000 when I switched from an administrative to IT support career. Following the journalism foundation degree it was clear that to be a journalist I would need to do further qualifications which would be expensive and there is no guarantee that I would gain a trainee reporter job. Furthermore, the degree in Television production did provide useful skills in video production but  paid television production roles impossible to find with no actual industrial experience.


So what is left? Well I thought marketing. But it appears that marketing is also difficult to break into. Even setting up my own media production company has bore no fruit mostly down to lack of time to promote it. But I’m not going to let that put me off. I knew it would be difficult to change career and I should be grateful that I have an income due to me even if my loyalty for to the company is now in the negative figures. 


So my goal now is to create my own opportunity. If I cannot find the job myself, make one. I am going to attempt to find out how to start my funded community project One that will bring in some financial return and provide people in the community a pathway into what they can do. Sort of like Cameron's BIG COMMUNITY idea but with legs, arms and so forth.


What is called for, I believe, is a business plan and some financial backing to get started……CBI…..Local chambers of commerce…’s not going to be easy.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

International I Haven’t Bred Day


family-mulitigenerationalSo mums have Mother’s Day, dads have Father’s Day and grandparents get both the gender specific card selling day AND Grandparent’s Day.


Well done. You’ve bred. You’ve contributed to the gene pool. You’ve created another mouth to feed. Another housing and clothing need.

Congratulations for contributing to the overpopulation of the world.  Have a day of adoration. Have special cards, gifts and a shiny new hat.

Well done.

And what do the rest of us get eh?

Month-of-SundaysWhen I was younger I asked my parents “When is it Son’s Day?” to which they replied “Everyday is Son’s Day”. Imagine that. A month of Son Days….

Now I am older I see the injustice of it. Those that breed get recognition; those that don’t, don’t. Moreover, there are “FAMILY FUN DAYS”, “FAMILY SIZED PORTIONS”, “FAMILY RESTAURANTS” and “FAMILY TICKETS” and other such discounts. Those that don’t breed get to luxury of having to support the entitled discounts for those that do. Fair? Not very.

But what seems fair is that there should be a day where all those that haven’t bred receive recognition for their act of selflessness and their increased costs for sustaining those that do breed. A day where those that have bred send those that haven’t cards of thanks, gifts and specifically targeted benefits. Reader…I give you:-


Thanks and  recognition at long last.

I propose that this day should be celebrated annually on the last Sunday of  July. Which should give those that have bred plenty of time to think of gifts and remember to pop cards into the postbox for their friends that, as yet, have not spawned a new generation of people that will one day require a pension, a house, transport and food.


Sunday, 12 June 2011

A day out in World War 2

IMAG0200The Pump Rooms in Tenbury WellsFeathers Inn in LudlowThe side of a CoupéThe front of a CoupéM42

Re-enacting the past

For shitz and gigglz I took Zoe to the Great Central Railway near Loughborough. It was a special day there as they were holding a Second World War day where each of the four stations were “zoned” into different “fronts” of the Second World War. It was a very enjoyable day out, with people dressed in period costumes, stalls selling period things, period food and drink and music from the era.

While walking round I was struck by the thought of how iconic that period was. It was a time of strife, knuckling down and patriotism. It was a time that many people today lived through themselves. Unlike the likes of say Civil War re-enactment this period was still in living memory.

And that got me thinking. What will people re-enact in the future? What iconic periods have we lived through in recent years? Will they re-enact say, the 1980s? The 1970s? Or even the noughties? What would they do?

Well, now you can join in on my special 1980s re-enactment.


Monday, 25 April 2011

Collectors Edition

The other day I took Zoe to the local Hobbycraft so she could choose a delicious and chewy glue gun for her Easter present. Nom. It was while we were wandering around the aisles that I was reminded about materialism and the satisfaction of surrounding ourselves with useless tat.


This could have fed a family of sixOne of the aisle displays contained parts to make your Hornby railway set complete. As well as trains, carriages and track there were little plastic men, shrubbery and model things. These you might buy to make your little network of trains look like a piece of English countryside harking back to the bygone age of steam and rail.


What struck me first was “How ace would it be to have a railway set with all these little men and things dotted about the place? I could have my very own pre-Beeching world with stops, junctions and level crossings.”


And then I looked at the price. The price for 5 little plastic men no bigger than the toenail on your middle toe was a shocking….£8. £8 for 5 tiny bits of anthropomorphic plastic. I looked at the packs of tunnel portals; £20. The starter packs were about £80. “Blimey!” said I and as I said it, and the people in the aisle flashed me confused glares the thoughts of my passing raced through my head.


SkipIt was, ultimately, all shite. If I invested my money in such a scheme, upon my passing, they would no doubt be separated, given away or sold for a fraction of the price I paid for them. My corpse festering in a box  somewhere while my worldly possessions divvied up into “Charity shop”, “Skip”, “Sell” and “Give away” piles.


Now I can understand spending your hard earned cash on something that will accumulate value like antiques, gold or stocks. I might even understand buying things that retain their value, but most of the time we are presented with useless tat to spend our money on, which in turn, makes the economy flourish.


Or so we are told.


218828pw150Then there’s the 99p “fitting” fee for screen wash. Yes, you read that right.  99p for someone who works in Halfords to come out to your car, pop your bonnet, open the cap to the screen wash reservoir and empty the contents into it.




Are people really that stupid? Are there people who, through some bizarre chain of events are unable to open the bonnet to their car and fill up their own reservoir? Do these people have the vote too?


This got me thinking. People + money = no sense. It’s like adorning your house with those fucking god awful stone lions rampant. Do you really think they add value to your home? Is there some people out there that think “Oh you know I’d buy this stately home but it hasn’t got fucking lions rampant on the gate posts” or people that think “You know this place has lions rampant on the gate posts, I think I’ll offer a little bit more money when I’m buying this house.


I doubt it. But I can’t be entirely sure. I mean the evidence is there around us.


strawI suspect this is why I have no money. I used to be materialistic. I’d want the car, the latest electronic gadgets and a little cork donkey to set off my living room. I’d want the smoked glass divides, the egg cosies, the camping pans and all the other rubbish. But then I broke myself. I now look at things and think: “Hey! Camping pans! Neat! But I could just take my own pans from my kitchen” or “Oooh hey! A pizza wheel would really make my kitchen complete. But then, what’s wrong with a really sharp knife instead?”


The paranoid part of me says the powers that be know that I am now immune to pointless spending and have engineered it so that I can’t get a job that pays a daft salary. Which of course, is daft in itself.


I find that I ask myself “Do I really need this?” with increasing regularity. Ornaments are wasted on me, gadgets are pointless and things like railway sets, hobbies and the like a waste of money.


CDs and DVDs are the same. I no longer rush out to buy the latest release of my favourite film or artist. I simply wait a year or so and buy them off Amazon for a pound or less. I no longer have the desire to rush out and buy the latest thing. Box sets are a waste of money and, if my video cassette collection is anything to go by, as soon as the format changes, the old stuff is worthless and you have to rush out and buy again.


My life free from such waste I should have tons of cash. I check my bank account and see little evidence of this…then…to help numb this realisation I fire up my laptop, sit back in my second hand couch and begin another quest on World of Warcraft. And that, dear reader, is why I am a hypocrite.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Mustard is like Custard without the sea

Visiting the olds often brings mixed feelings. I enjoy seeing them. I enjoy going into town to meet up with the chaps. I enjoy sitting, drinking, chatting about any old bollocks. Then I go about the area, doing general chores,  shopping and revisiting old haunts.

2fc8ebae1acd4b67e044ca5058aa_grandeI suppose once you’re away from an area, when you return you notice things that you probably wouldn’t notice in your own environment. Like the shufflers in the supermarket; the fat couples with zombie like expressions continuing with their socially prescribed existentiality; the dodgy underclass being generally shifty. Then my euphoria sinks. Like some sort of shit on the toilet pan of existence being washed away by the bleach of reality.

What has happened to us as a society? Why have we become so vacuous, narcissistically self obsessed and  abhorrent? You may deny this, hell I would too, but with true introspection and examination of how we, as a society, follow the subliminal instructions from those who feel they are our superior, we can quickly recognise how awful this culture we have created has become.

It is then we become reviled by ourselves. Kid ourselves that “No! I’m not like that at all!”. Yet deep inside, we know we are. It feels bad. So we numb the pain, ignore the state of affairs and distract ourselves with shopping, computer games, Facebork or other such trivialities. We should be ashamed.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


When did you last use a public loo? Today? Last week? Last month?

I think my last visit to a public loo was when I went to Tenbury Wells with Z.


Nice looUsually, when caught short, I’ll try to sneak into a pub, pretend that I’m looking for someone and do my business there. Well...not in the pub lounge...more like in the pub’s bog. But you get my meaning. This, I must explain, is only for number ones. NEVER for number twos. And only recently, number ones in urinals.

You see, I have this dislike of public bogs; Dirty, smelly and dingy cathedrals of cess and unease. Or at least that is my experience of them. Every man that enters a public loo is potentially a murderer, a druggie or a rapist. Every drop of water on the floor a potential plague bearer and every surface the path to dysentery.

Not very nice.

2928572045_2382f5a664I suppose this began at primary school. School for me was in a Victorian building. Ageing. Falling apart at the seams. Paint peeling from the high vaulted ceilings. Wooden floors. Creepy corridors. That kind of thing. The toilets reflected a similar age. Buffed greenish brown stone urinals. The trough caked with strange solid matter and verdigris encrusted plumbing. The stalls contained low porcelain thrones that wouldn’t look out of place in a retro-furbished bathroom with rising chain operated flushers. One of the thrones was permanently blocked with matter that I care not to describe and the whole room had an odorous miasma of cheap bleach, urinary infections and damp staleness.

X20387This was probably not the thing that kick-started my dislike of public toilets. I think it was the characters that tended to loiter in this palaces of piss stink. Mostly the bullies, the ne’er-do-wells and the feckless. You know the type, they probably grew up to be successful “business men” who peddle drugs and traffic women in their vast criminal empires or, they’re locked up in prison.

The toilets were always the last place I’d want to be. I had even been known to hold off from going to the toilet until I had returned home. Something I still kind of do. British public toilets nearly always remind me of those awful facilities at St Mary’s. Sometimes even the ones in the pubs do that too. It’s like people are not proud of toilets. They’re places that, left untended, seem to rapidly decline into dirty horrid holes.

glory-holeI’ve been in nightclub toilets where the floors were sodden with liquid. I’ve been to restaurants where I’ve refused to eat because of the condition of their toilet facilities. I’ve seen sights you would never believe in platform toilets on railway stations. Even abroad, I’ve used manned conveniences that I’ve paid to use where a swish of the mop wouldn’t have made the slightest difference in cleanliness.

Now, before anyone starts kicking off about how not all toilets are like that. Let me agree with you. Not all toilets that are for public usage are like that. I’ve been in pristine bogs. So clean they smell of roses. Clean enough to pass as a toilet in a private stately home. I’ve also been in adequate bogs that, though free to use, are manned by a maintenance person who spends time ensuring that any puddles of piss are swiftly mopped up.


Then today, there came the news that a number of councils in the UK are selling off or closing their public lavs because they are no longer used or they have fallen in to disrepair. A look on the internet will uncover no end of tribute sites dedicated to the grand old public lavs that once graced UK townships. These days they are few and far between as councils cut back on budgets and sanitary services suffer.

girl-toilet01If I had the money I’d buy one. I’d refurbish the place and charge £1 to use it. I’d ensure that the place was light, airy, clean and safe for people to use without fear of a penis being stuck through a hole in the partition. Users would not have to worry about stepping into anything unpleasant and maybe even buy themselves a freshly made coffee on their way out. The attendant would be proud of their work and rewarded for such. Maybe even make it a members only place for an annual fee of say £20. Each stall would be cleaned by the attendant after each use. No fear of druggies or buggery.

Sadly I doubt I could raise the funds.