Some Like It Blog

You may have noticed that the UK has been enjoying some rather nice weather of late. Sure, it has been interspersed with our usual dark clouds, and downpours of heavy rain, but generally speaking it has been sunny, and, best of all, hot (well, hot by our standards).

This, folks, is summer (or was summer, if you happen to be reading this a few days after publication, by which time I feel certain we’ll be back to ‘overcast and chilly’).  Make the most of it, because soon it will be July, and then the following will happen:

  1. The schools break up;
  2. Glastonbury;
  3. Wimbledon;
  4. People start optimistically buying barbecues.

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Glastonbury: Shit

On their own, any of the above list would be sufficient to jeopardise our current nice weather, but since all four will happen in a relatively short period of time, there is no doubt that we will be cold and soaking by mid-July. Welcome to the British summer.

But is summer all it’s cracked up to be anyway?

Answer: no, not really.

Look, it’s not the worst of the seasons by a long shot (Autumn, I’m looking at you), but bearing in mind I am grumpy most of the time anyway, I can find fault in pretty much anything if the mood takes me (apart from perhaps Holly Willoughby).

So, on the basis there will be people reading this thinking, ‘go on, give me one good reason why summer is a bit shit’, I’ll do better than that – I’ll give you ten reasons (and that’s on top of the aforementioned Glastonbury and Wimbledon).

1. Suncream

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NB: Not my leg

I am well aware that the alternative to wearing suncream, is sunburn (or worse), so obviously I don’t think it should be avoided altogether, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, either. It’s time-consuming to apply, leaves you greasy and/or sticky, attracts every insect and grain of sand within a five-mile radius, and more often than not it smells of fucking coconut. I hate coconut. If I wanted to smell of coconut, I’d take a bath in some Malibu, then stick a Bounty up my arse.

2. Wasps

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Vicious. Little. Bastards.

I don’t care if they are one of God’s creatures, and apparently do serve an actual purpose (in addition to bringing misery to millions of people, by spoiling their picnics and stinging them), they are evil, and should be exterminated.

We recently had a particularly aggressive wasp in the office, and my colleague berated me for trying to kill it – to the point she ‘rescued’ it from the toilet where it was trapped, and released it back into the wild. Let’s not forget, it was the wasp’s decision to actually fly under the toilet seat, then lie in wait for some poor unsuspecting butt cheeks to pierce; but, oh no, apparently I was the monster for trying to help it on it’s way with a gentle flush (oh, and I may have peed on it first for good measure).

I tried to argue that there was only room for one nasty looking prick in that bathroom, and it wasn’t the wasp’s, however my colleague still set it free (I sincerely hope the wasp then flew directly to her car, to wait for the drive home).

We have other insects for pollination, so wasps add absolutely nothing to society other than misery, so the sooner they become extinct the better.

3. Sleeping

Sleeping in the summer is a bloody nightmare. Ok, getting into a cold bed during the winter months can initially be a little unpleasant, but you quickly warm up, and that’s why we have electric blankets and hot water bottles (even if I don’t use either).

But in the summer, you get into bed all hot and sticky, and you remain that way, until you finally give up on sleeping and go back to work. Sure, you can leave some windows open for cooler air once it goes dark, but this invites every bug in the area to enter the room and attack you during the night.

4. Hayfever

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Arguably the shittest of all the debilitating inflictions, because it is essentially just itchy and streaming eyes and nose, interspersed with occasional sneezing, but if you don’t suffer with hayfever, you will never understand how truly fucking annoying it is, and how miserable it can make you.

Plus, you have to listen to every person over the age of fifty, when they explain to you their own personal guaranteed method for curing it: “get some local honey, and rub it on your scrotum on the second Tuesday of each month…”

5. Sunglasses

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Sunglasses generally make people look cool. I am not cool (you may have noticed).

Coolness is not the issue, however. My main problem with sunglasses, is that my eyesight is only marginally better than Stevie Wonder’s, so in order to wear them when it is bright and sunny outside, means one of the following:

  • Contact lenses – Except, I don’t wear contact lenses regularly, so it can take up to fifteen minutes to prod the sodding things into my eyes (by which point they are so red and sore, I regret my decision anyway). Plus, I suffer from hayfever – see above – so my eyes are already itchy as it is, and not particularly keen to have salty plastic discs stuck onto them;
  • Exchanging my normal glasses for sunglasses, then hoping I don’t walk into lampposts, other people, and dog shit. This usually means my wife guiding me around like, well, Stevie Wonder;
  • Wearing prescription sunglasses – because prescription sunglasses are almost like actual sunglasses (in the same way that Quorn is almost like actual meat). Almost.

These are all, however, better than the final option…

  • Wearing those ‘clip-on sunglasses’ last seen in 1989:

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I’m probably better off sticking to my normal specs, and just squinting a lot.

6. The Lack of Football

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Now, as far as my wife is concerned, having her husband and eldest son available on Saturdays again, even if only for a couple of months a year, is a bonus (although, the novelty usually wears off by mid-June); but for Ollie and I, losing our fortnightly fix of live football until the start of August is devastating.

We love our team (shit and perpetually disappointing though they are), and no amount of Russian World Cup can scratch that itch, I’m afraid.

7. Ice cream

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I quite like ice cream (despite my pathetically sensitive teeth), and there is nothing finer on a hot summer’s day, than enjoying an ice cream cone with your family.

For three minutes.

Then, after that fleeting moment of summery bliss, it becomes a battle against time, as you frantically try to stem the flow of melting dessert from trickling towards your hand. And, even if you manage to finish the ice cream before it reaches your fingers and makes you all sticky (not to mention irresistible to those fucking wasps), enough of it has escaped to soften the cone, which then collapses and covers you anyway.

The only thing worse than trying to successfully eat an ice cream yourself, is handing one to a child.

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8. Teachers

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I have to tread carefully here, as I’m married to a teacher, but my God they start to get smug by the end of May, and downright unbearable come July, as that colossal six week holiday approaches. Don’t get me wrong, teachers work very hard, and my wife is often marking and planning lessons beyond midnight, but all of the stress and abuse has to be at least worth considering, for six weeks off in the summer.

At least if I was a teacher too, we could go away for most of the summer (thereby avoiding the likes of Glastonbury and Wimbledon, and all the middle-class twats who attend them), but I get a very limited amount of annual leave, and when we do go away it has to be when the schools are off, which means paying twice as much.

9. Convertibles

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There are two types of convertible car owners.

The first, are those really smug drivers, who put the roof down in the middle of March, (when the sleet eases slightly, and the temperature creeps above freezing), to try and justify their ridiculous purchase. Then, when the weather genuinely turns nice around this time of year, they drive up and down the roads of Britain, wearing sunglasses, and laughing at the glorious world which surrounds them.

For three days a year, their car is perfect, and wonderful, and we’re all jealous. It matters not, that most convertible drivers are bald, middle-aged estate agents, with bugs firmly embedded between their teeth, because for once they are winning at life.

Then, we have the second category: those truly hopeless convertible car owners who, when faced with a gloriously sunny day (the one chance they have to finally enjoy their nearly-pointless automobile), they leave the top on. Why on earth would you buy a convertible car in this country, if you don’t fucking use it on a sunny day?

10. Roadworks

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For those of us who commute to work each day, roadworks are our enemy (together with cyclists), but at least during the winter, they are kept to a minimum (unlike cyclists).

However, as soon as the schools break up for summer, every Council in the country sees this as a green light to start digging up all the roads that they have been neglecting since the summer before.

I understand the reasoning behind this, as there are supposedly less cars travelling, so the disruption is minimised, but school holidays are the one chance we commuters get to enjoy a slightly easier journey to work, and yet we are denied this minor respite time and time again.

In fact, the only people who benefit from roadworks being delayed until the school holidays, are parents who don’t work, and teachers – and, frankly, we’ve already established that the summer holidays are the one time of year when teachers deserve bugger all.

Why doesn’t anyone ever think of the lawyers?

Ok, don’t answer that.

Thanks for reading x

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Run FatBlog Run (Tatton Park)

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Last Sunday, I took part in the fourth of my 10k races this year, at Tatton Park in Cheshire.

Those of you who know me – or who have been reading the blog entries about my charity challenge – will be aware that I detest running with every fibre of my being, and, by all accounts, I’m a bit shit at it (ok, I’m a lot shit at it).

So far, I have pulled various muscles in my legs and back; I’ve tripped and injured my left elbow and knee;  my right hip has started crunching when I walk up stairs; and, most recently, I collapsed at the finish line of the Whitchurch 10k in April, resulting in several hours in a medical tent, plus two hospital visits (the latter of which was an overnight stay in a ward with very elderly – and grumpy – men).

Running: Hazardous and stupid

To put it bluntly – and as I explained on my Facebook page not so long ago – I am to running, what Vladimir Putin is to world peace: fucking hopeless.

However, despite my utter ineptitude when it comes to running – and lack of fitness in general – I have always been able to manage a sprint finish at each of the previous events (even though I didn’t quite achieve this at the Whitchurch 10k; and, ultimately, it was pushing myself too much at the end of the race which proved to be my downfall); but, on this occasion, I decided I would give the fast finish a miss, no matter what the signs were telling me:

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Not this time, ta

So, after a cringe-worthy mass warm-up, organised with the assistance of a local fitness instructor (which Ollie joined in with, and Isaac sort of freestyle danced to), we headed towards the start line.

Somewhat unusually, the announcer then began lining us up at the start, according to what approximate time we were expecting to finish in – those (proper athletes) around the 35-minute mark were first; followed by anyone hoping for a sub-40 time; and  so on, continuing in five-minute increments from there. So, having run all my previous races in just under fifty minutes, I decided to stick with that estimate, and gathered at the start line with my fellow sub-50 mates.

It turns out that the majority of people who expect to run a 10k in under fifty minutes, are either stupid, deaf, or plain fucking lying, because when the race started, I honestly could have crawled past them they were going so slow. I can see the logic behind trying to stagger the runners in order of predicted speed, but the organisers appear to have never been on a flight before, since we all know that people are generally stupid, and when told to board an aircraft in designated row announcements, they will ignore this and push forward whenever the mood takes them. The same principle applied here – people saw a queue, ignored all instructions, and joined it randomly, like sheep.

Consequently, when the race got underway, I had to try and run around these morons at the side of the path, which messed up my own start – and pacing – and left me struggling before even the 2k marker. I did, however, put on a brave face as I ran past my family:

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The situation – and my mood – wasn’t helped by the fact my mp3 player had stopped working, so I had to try and fix it, whilst dodging around idiots. And if there is one thing I hate, it’s slow idiots.

Thankfully, I completed the run without any major incident, although I still went home feeling somewhat disappointed with my performance.

On the positive side, I managed to complete the course without any assistance – whether that be from a fellow runner, or someone of the medical profession – on a day when a number of people dropped out of the race due to the heat; and after what happened at Whitchurch, I was just glad to get another 10k under my belt.

At the same time, however, I really wanted to complete all ten races in under fifty minutes, and, more importantly, I was desperate to run them all without having to walk at any point – however, on this occasion, both of those targets sadly eluded me.

In fairness, after what happened at Whitchurch, the sub-50 minute target was not so much of a concern, as I didn’t want to risk pushing myself to get a good time only to end up in an ambulance again, but when I had to stop at the half way-stage (where the water station was situated), and walk because of the heat, I was really pissed off. Unfortunately, no amount of convincing myself that it was better to walk than collapse, made me feel any better about the situation. I was gutted (I still am).

At this stage, I know most people – particularly my family and friends – will say that it was better to finish the race than risk my health, and I know after what happened last time it was an achievement to even ‘get back in the saddle’ (metaphorically speaking); but I still cannot help feeling disappointed, and keep wondering if I could have coped until the finish line, had I pushed myself to continue running.

With that in mind, I haven’t ruled out re-entering the Tatton 10k later in the year (it is, after all, the only one of my events to take place monthly, as opposed to annually), but I will see what the next few bring in June, July and August – when it could be really hot weather. The main thing is, I have now finished four races, and that means I am almost half way through this hugely regrettable challenge.

So, without further ado, here are the scores on the doors:

Time: 54:13 (my slowest time yet – by around five minutes – but that’s because I had to stop and walk for a bit).

Position: 181st (out of 545), so – just about – in the top-third of all entrants (an unofficial target).

Cost: £18.00

Course: Relatively flat (although not quite as flat as I had hoped), but very picturesque, including a nice loop around the lake, and mostly smooth tarmac. 8/10

Weather: Dry and sunny, but too damn hot 6/10

Organisation: Two detailed e-mails prior to the event, with plenty of pre-race information, and a well-organised set-up on the day (although they do hold this race every month, so you would expect them to be pretty good at it by now).

Plenty of enthusiastic marshals, all of whom were shouting words of encouragement (including one who was high-fiving everyone as they ran past him); clear markers at each kilometre point; and a very quick and easy registration process. Oh, and they let me have my headphones in. Good work, Tatton. 9/10

Official Photos: There were at least two professional photographers on the day, and although my ‘poses’ were shit (look, I was tired and I panicked), this isn’t their fault. The photos were free, and uploaded onto the event’s Facebook page by the end of the day. Again, impressive. 8/10

Medal: Very unique and colourful, well made and solid. Plus it contains a lady runner with ample cleavage, so what’s not to like? 9/10

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Goody-bag: Ah, it was going so well. No goody-bags on offer, and no t-shirt either (I think they spent all the entry fee on the medal) 0/10

Post-race refreshment: We were given plenty of water (which was a good job in that heat), together with bananas and one of the nicest flapjacks I’ve ever spent half an hour chewing (my mouth was very dry, rather than this being the flapjack’s fault) 7/10 (purely for the flapjack)

Summary:

Course – 8/10

Weather – 6/10

Organisation – 9/10

Photos – 8/10

Medal – 9/10

Goody-bag – 0/10

Refreshments – 7/10

Meaning a total score of 47/70 (or 67%) – Tatton Park would have been a clear leader at this stage, if they’d only given us a little goody bag to take home; but as it is, they remain in second place behind the ill-fated Whitchurch 10k:

Whitchurch 49/70           (70%)

Tatton Park 47/70            (67%)

Oulton Park 46/70            (66%)

Poynton 39/70                   (56%)

My next race is at Colshaw Hall (near Knutsford) on 17th June, where apparently the course sends us around this bad boy…

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Last but by no means least, if you’d like to sponsor me (please do, if you haven’t already, as I’m hating every second of this), here’s a reminder of my Just Giving page:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/greg10x10k

Thanks for reading x

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Minor Bloggywork Damage

A few weeks ago, I was involved in a minor road traffic incident on my commute to work, when a lobotomised ape in a van, decided to drive into the side of my car – destroying my wing mirror, and causing additional damage to the side of the car in the process.

At the time, he didn’t request any of my insurance details (because he was clearly at fault), and merely offered me his own, however he has evidently realised there were no witnesses, and is now trying to suggest we were equally to blame. I’m not one to get angry and hold a grudge, as you know, but let’s just say that if he were to now contract a flesh-eating disease on his scrotum, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. I would, however, visit him in hospital, if only to rub salt into the wound.

When faced with such a situation, it’s always comforting to know that you have a competent insurer, accident management company, and repairing garage on your side. Unfortunately, I have no idea what that might feel like, because my insurers have been useless to non-existent; the accident management company have been utterly incompetent, and the repairing garage have made the other two look thoroughly professional.

Since the claim is ongoing, I probably shouldn’t mention who I am insured with (let’s just say there was a battle there in 1066).  I contacted them straight after the accident, because I didn’t think for one second ‘van scumbag’ was going to try and wriggle out of hitting me – he was, after all, in the middle of the road, and not looking where he was going at the time – so I naively thought there would be a prompt admission from his insurers (again, I won’t mention them by name, but it’s a city in Switzerland), and I’d have my car back swiftly.

I never expected there to be a fight on liability, with my no-claims discount compromised, and my premium likely to rocket next year as a result, but above all I didn’t think it would take more than two fucking weeks to fix one wing mirror.  I’m pretty sure I could have had a decent stab at taking the entire car apart, and then re-building it, faster.

To give you some idea of the incompetence I have been dealing with, let me summarise the chronology:

Monday 16th April – van wanker drives into me around 9:05am. Accident reported to insurers an hour later. Hire car delivered early afternoon. So far, so adequate.

Tuesday 17th April – my car is collected late afternoon, from Poynton, by a recovery company in Crewe, to take it to the repairer in Stoke. Genius.

Wednesday 18th April – bugger all happens.

Thursday 19th April – bugger all happens again. I contact my insurers, and the repairing garage, to find out why I haven’t received an estimate yet. The estimate arrives at nearly 6pm, but is only for the wing mirror, not the scratches down the side. They query whether I want the additional damage including. No, it’s fine, I’ll just stick some pretty pictures over that when I get the car back, dickhead.

Friday 20th April – I email back, to explain that, yes, I would like all the damage repairing (please), and to express my dissatisfaction at the delays – pointing out that, had I used my local repair centre, I would almost certainly have my own car back by now. I demand the updated estimate by the end of the day.

I also phone my insurers to complain, who inform me that once the estimate has been corrected, it could take the accident management company a week to authorise the repairs, then another week or so for the garage to order the parts and actually carry out the work. The reason for it taking a week to authorise the repair? They still had a backlog of work since The Beast from the East two months earlier.

Needless to say, I didn’t receive the updated estimate by the end of the day.

Saturday 21st April – or the next day.

Monday 23rd April – or the next.

Tuesday 24th April – still nothing. At this point, I was getting slightly pissed off, so I decided to contact my local repairer, in the hope they could provide a quick estimate my insurers might be satisfied with. They provide the quote very quickly, but it is higher than I expected, so I phone the repairer in Stoke to see if they have bothered to finalise their own quote.

Having got through to ‘Sally No-Stars’ on reception, she places me on hold to check the present position, following which the conversation goes thus:

‘Yes, the repairs have started, and your car will be ready for Friday.’

‘The repairs have started?! And who authorised that?’

‘Erm, hang on, I’ll have to put you on hold.’

[5 minutes later]

‘I’m going to have to get the manager to call you back.’

‘Yes, you do that.’

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Wednesday 25th April – having received no return call, but having had enough of the incompetent bullshit, I send a rather scathing e-mail to my insurers, the accident company, and the repairer, in the hope one of them might actually give me some answers.

My particular gripe, aside from the delays, is the fact the garage have gone ahead and begun repairing the car without my authority. When they finally e-mail back, rather than apologise, they have a go at me, stating that they don’t need my authority, as they get this from the insurers and accident management company, not the customer (typed in such a way as to imply the customer is a repugnant piece of shit). I know this, because that particular sentence begins ‘with all due respect’, which is a term I often use in my own e-mails, to mean ‘listen, scumbag…’

So, despite having no idea how much my repairs will cost (which I argue is important information, in the event my claim is settled 50/50 by the lazy insurers, because I need to know the extent of the claim on my policy), I was at least guaranteed my car would be ready for Friday 27th April.

Friday 27th April – the day doesn’t start well, when I realise the hire car has just under a quarter of a tank left, and since I am obliged to return it with ‘at least a quarter’, this means adding the most meagre of amounts to take the needle above that level.

Having pulled in to Tesco on my way to work, I top the car up with a miserly £5, and set off again. However, as I pull out of the car park, I notice the needle hasn’t moved, and is still below the quarter-mark. Bugger.

I therefore drive around the Tesco complex and back to the petrol station, where I pull up to the same pump and try again to add £5 of fuel, assuming it somehow hasn’t worked. This time, before leaving the forecourt, I start the ignition to check – the needle again hasn’t moved.

Amidst much (uncharacteristic) swearing, I vow to try one final time, and if the needle doesn’t go above a quarter this time, I will keep the receipt as proof, and argue the fuel gauge is knackered when they come to collect the car.

I put a third £5-worth of unleaded into the hire car, get back in, and start the ignition.

At which point the needle goes to a little over half a tank.

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And this:

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Loudly referring to the car as a ‘useless piece of shit’, much to the amusement of neighbouring customers, I drive off and complete my journey to work, reassured that I will at least be driving my own car home that evening.

You can see where this is going.

Having heard nothing by my lunch break, I phoned Useless Fucking Bodywork Repairs Ltd, to enquire about when, precisely, they would be dropping off my car.

‘Oh, the repairs are finished, but you’ll have to come and collect it, as we can’t drop off today.’

Now, in all likelihood, this situation wasn’t directly Julie on reception’s fault, so it was perhaps a little harsh of me to suggest she insert the nearest car part into her anus, but I was becoming more than a little frustrated by this point.

As a compromise (read: me backing down slightly when Julie started to cry), it was agreed that I would drive the hire car to their premises on Saturday morning, pick up my own car, and then the hire company could collect theirs back from Stoke – which, to my amazement, everyone seemed happy with.

All that remained, was for me to use up a quarter tank of unnecessary fuel (to make a point), so I drove the 25 miles home that evening entirely in second gear. With all the windows down. Via Bolton.

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That evening, I took up my usual residency on the porcelain throne,  and checked my e-mails, whereupon I discovered one from the garage. Assuming it was an apology for the terrible service and constant lies, I opened it with anticipation:

‘The wrong part has been delivered for your car, so it will not now be ready to collect in the morning.’

I nearly shit myself with rage (although, had I done so, I was at least in the right place). My response:

‘So, when you confirmed the repairs were already underway on Tuesday, that was clearly a lie, because even I know you can’t repair a broken wing mirror with the wrong fucking part. You’d better let the hire company know of your incompetence, because they think they’re collecting a car from you tomorrow, and it sure as hell won’t be there, will it?’

I did finally get my car back on Monday (30th April), more than two weeks post-accident, and the repairs have been done to a satisfactory standard – however, I still don’t have the first clue what they cost, where I stand in terms of liability, the damage to my no-claims discount; and whether the other driver has contracted scrotum-plague yet.

Fuck ‘em all.

Thanks for reading x

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Harry Windsor and the Half-Blog Prince

On Monday, it was St. George’s Day, and regardless of whether you are an English patriot or not, you have to admit that, as days go, Monday was about as English as they come – not only was the weather almost entirely nondescript (it was neither warm nor cold, and neither dry nor wet), but we also welcomed the safe arrival of the latest member of our Royal Family… with typical British indifference.

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Ok, there were some people (I like to call them morons), who gathered outside the hospital in their finest Union Jack clothing, waving flags they’ve obviously been keeping safe since the birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015 (and, before that, the Queen’s Jubilee no doubt); but generally speaking the English population – and, indeed, the majority of the world – reacted to the birth of the fifth in line to the throne with one colossal shrug of the shoulders.

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Morons

Don’t get me wrong, I quite like William and Kate (and Harry, for that matter), since – unlike the majority of the Royal Family – they actually strike me as decent people, but I cannot for the life of me understand the frenzy created by the press, purely because ‘The Cambridges’ procreated for the third time.

The first baby (George), fair enough, I understand the excitement; and even the second (Charlotte) at a push – pun intended – but most people don’t give a shit about the birth of their own children beyond the first two (by the time parents get to the third child, they have essentially given up on life anyway), so why should we feign interest in another couple adding to their misery, royal or otherwise?

As I posted on my Facebook page earlier this week, the only way I could possibly muster even the slightest bit of interest in another royal baby, would be if:

  1. We all got a national holiday to celebrate; or
  2. They named the baby something hugely inappropriate, like Wayne or Kevin; or
  3. The baby is clearly mixed-race or, better still, ginger.

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Then it would be interesting news.

It’s difficult to feel sorry for Kate, because she must have known what she was getting into when she married Prince William, and she’ll never have to worry about money (or getting a proper job) ever again, but sweet Jesus the press need to leave her alone.

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Within a few hours of the poor woman giving birth, again, she was paraded around in front of the world’s press, so they could analyse what she was wearing. Oh, sure, they might have claimed it was to get their first glimpse of the new prince, but everyone knows babies are generally ugly little fuckers most of the time, so I’m not buying that for one second.

I also don’t believe that Kate deliberately wore red and white because it was St. George’s Day, or because ‘those were the colours Diana wore, when she left hospital with Harry in 1984’. Frankly, I’d have been more impressed if she’d worn what she wanted to wear, which I can almost certainly guarantee was a hoodie, joggers, and a pair of comfy slippers.

I understand that this was no ordinary baby, because very few newborns are even remotely close to ruling the British empire (I’m now 38, and nowhere near the throne – in fact, I’m much nearer to joining The Sugababes than the Royal Family), however you can’t help but wonder if Kate secretly wanted, just once, to be like a normal mum who has given birth a few hours earlier.

In fact, just imagine if William and Kate had gone through childbirth like the rest of us…..

 

On St. George’s Day, Two Thousand Eighteen

We welcomed the fifth in line to the Queen

A brand new royal – The Cambridge’s third

The press reaction was rather absurd.

 

Behind closed doors, with the UK’s best team

Kate gripped William’s hand, and let out a scream

Outside, the journos gathered and waited

For news that the Duchess was fully dilated.

 

In a private wing, no doubt fancy and plush

Kate focused on breathing, then, with one final push

The baby arrived – and next to the bed

William greeted his newborn, all wrinkly and red.

 

He gazed at his wife, gave her hand a quick pat

‘Well done old girl-’

‘Fuck off you twat –

That’s three times in five years I’ve been up the duff

Never again now, enough is enough

I’m exhausted, I’m sore, I’m painful and tender

Come near me again, your dick goes in a blender

I know all the protocols, I’ve read all the rules

But so help me God, I’ll rip off your crown jewels.’

 

And with that, Will backed off, then nervously said

‘Do you think you feel able to get out of bed?

The press are outside, and they want a quick look

To which Kate turned purple and screamed ‘What the fuck?!

I don’t care if Sky News are camped on the roof

I’ve just pushed 8lb of child out my foof.’

 

Will said ‘Calm down dear, no need for the swearing

They just want to see you, and check what you’re wearing-‘

‘Tell you what baldy, why don’t you head on down,

Say my bits are on fire and I’m wearing a gown.’

 

‘Kate, please, it’s just a quick chat with the press

I’ve already picked out a nice looking dress

It’s red and white, like the one my mum wore

When she walked out with Harry, back in ’84.’

 

‘Look, I know that you miss her, but that’s a bit creepy

Plus, I feel like shit and I’m incredibly sleepy

I’m sure that the nation won’t think me a traitor

If you announce that I’ll pop down a littler bit later.’

 

But William persisted and begged Kate to go

To slap on some make-up, then put on a show

In the end she turned round and said ‘What’s it worth,

To go greet the world, barely hours after birth?’

To which Will replied, ‘Ok dear, don’t you worry,

I’ll speak to my gran, see if you can have Surrey.’

 

The Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge Depart The Lindo Wing With Their New Son

 

And with that the Cambridges met with the press

Who cooed at the baby, admired Catherine’s dress

A prince on St. George’s Day – a Mail writer’s dream

And Kate smiled sweetly, despite wanting to scream.

 

Then after, Will cradled his new son and heir

Stroked his small head, spotted one ginger hair

He turned to his wife, in the dress like his mother’s

Who said, ‘Did I mention, this baby’s your brother’s’?

 

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Thanks for reading, folks x

 

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Band of Bloggers

Last week, I explained how the Whitchurch 10k led to me spending eight hours in Telford A&E, before an overnight stay in Leighton Hospital the following day.

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When I was moved to the ward last Monday evening, I was placed in a bay with five very elderly men. I have no doubt they were all the wrong side of 80, and most had probably celebrated their 90th birthdays too. Within minutes of arriving and being re-connected to my drip, I had a very real fear that I was going to be the only one to survive the night.

Partly to let my family and friends know I was ok, but mostly to keep myself sane, I decided to post updates of my overnight stay on Facebook….

Enjoy.

Monday 9th April – 10:50pm

Very frail elderly men are not the chattiest of companions, so I’ve decided to appoint myself leader (despite being the youngest by at least 50 years), in order to motivate the troops through the night. I’m not letting a single one of these guys die on me.

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I only know one of their actual names, because I heard a nurse say it earlier, so I’ve had to allocate made-up names to the others.

To my immediate left, is George (actual name). So far, all he has achieved is going for a piss, but he did so by himself (with the aid of a Zimmer frame), so I have high hopes for George’s survival.

Top left, we’ll call Ronald. I like Ronald very much, because he was the only one to acknowledge my arrival with a cheerful little wave. Ronald has farted twice, and doesn’t seem to mind who knows. Ronald is my kind of guy.

Opposite, is Frank. Frank hasn’t moved at all so far, and I can’t see him breathing. I’m concerned about Frank. DON’T YOU DARE QUIT ON ME FRANK, DON’T YOU DARE.

Top right is Aubrey (random, but I’m going with it). Aubrey is also a flagrant gas-passer, but he just shouted about chocolate, and someone called Ian, in his sleep. Aubrey is one to keep an eye on. He’s unpredictable. A maverick.

Lastly, we have, to my immediate right, Donald. He has so far demanded that the lights be turned out (while the nurse was trying to fix my drip), and when she politely replied ‘in a minute’, he called her a ‘fucking ratarse’ – which is not only rude, it’s technically inaccurate. You can only GET ratarsed, Donald, you can’t BE a ratarse. I don’t want to lose any of these guys – they’re my boys – but Donald is pushing his fucking luck with that kind of attitude.

Then there’s me. The nurses’ favourite, because I am polite, courteous, and the least likely to shit on them.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday 10th April – 12:03am

George has completed another trip to the bathroom, but I swear he made so much noise trying to get to his Zimmer frame, he’d have made a less eventful exit by simply tipping beds over.

This angered Donald – cantankerous old bastard that he is – to the point he made an elaborate show of covering his own face with a coat. He then struggled to breathe for a bit, and realised what a truly terrible idea that was, so the coat is now on the floor.

I still like Ronald, but he has honestly farted so much, I’m surprised there is any air left in his tiny little body.

Frank has not only farted, he’s also lifted one leg and barked like a dog, so it seems he’s out of the woods and doing ok.

Aubrey is now muttering something in his sleep about crackers.

Me? Well, I’m just having the time of my life.

6:12am

George has been relatively quiet, since his last noisy visit to the bathroom, but I’ve just checked and he’s hanging in there. Keep fighting, George.

Ronald, on the other hand (real name Freddie, I have discovered) has just caused quite the commotion. He woke most of us around 5.30am by repeatedly shouting ‘Hello?!’ very loudly. I tried to placate him by whispering over ‘Is it me you’re looking for?’, in the hope he’s a Lionel Richie fan, but it turned out one of his fluid bags was stuck down the end of his bed.

He therefore repeated shouting ‘Hello?!’ for a while, and I had to press my orange button to attract the attention of the nurses (although not before Frank had told him to ‘shut the fuck up and go back to sleep’). Following a shaky start, I’m impressed with Frank – he has chutzpah, and you can’t underestimate how important that is here.

Ronald / Freddie got his fluid bag freed, and then decided to pay a visit to the bathroom, but after a few minutes was again shouting ‘Hello?!’ from down the corridor. This time, when help arrived, the conversation went thus:

“What’s up Freddie?”

“Look at this!”

“Put your pants back on, Freddie, and get into bed.”

Classic Ronald.

I’m worried about Aubrey. He hasn’t moved in a while, and didn’t even murmur when Freddie had his episode. Aubrey is a tough old cookie though, so we just have to hope he has another few hours in him. Wait! He just rolled over. Get in Aubrey, you old dog you.

Donald has also gone quiet, and hasn’t hurled abuse at anyone in a while. Maybe the glare I gave him earlier got the message across. I’m not having anyone upset the troops, not even one of our own.

For my part, I have successfully managed to visit the bathroom, dragging my drip behind me like a true leader.

Keep us all in your thoughts, guys and gals. Not long until sunrise.

7:50am

We did it! All six present and accounted for. I’m so proud of my boys – what a team effort.

I’ve now learned everyone’s real names, so at the risk of confusing everything:

George = George. He’s in the loo again, and although he still hasn’t spoken, he’s had his obs done and the nurses seem pretty happy with him.

Ronald = Freddie. I love Freddie. After his toilet prank earlier, he then had the following conversation with a nurse while she was taking George’s obs:

“You know those plastic gloves you wear?”

“Yes, Freddie.”

“Would one fit me?”

“Probably.”

“Shall we try?”

“No, Freddie.”

Freddie is my sort of prankster. He’s also hoping to go home today, and I really hope they weren’t lying to him when they said he probably could. Freddie just got himself dressed, and is looking rather dapper.

Frank = Roy. He’s gone quiet again, but I can see his chest moving up and down. He had us all scared for a while, but he’s put in a real shift to make it through the night.

Aubrey = Joseph. Joseph is like a new man this morning. He lost the battery out of his hearing aid a short while ago, but managed to signal to the nurse where he kept his spare, and he’s now fully functioning too. He’s reading the Daily Mail, but I’ll let that slide just this once.

My only issue with Joseph, is that he either has a rubber mattress protector on his bed, or he’s wearing leather pants under there, because there’s a horrible squeaking sound every time he moves.

Joseph’s wife is apparently coming in to see him later. I don’t know whether the others have a gal back home, but it’s nice that Joe has someone, at least.

Donald = Robert. He’s not sworn at anyone in a while, and even let the nurse test his blood sugar. He’s sleeping now, but the rest of us are fine with that for the peaceful running of the operation.

Hopefully it’ll be breakfast soon.

9:10am

George has finally spoken to accept breakfast. He doesn’t seem very happy, but in this place who can blame him? The rest of us are trying to keep his spirits up.

Freddie is now sat in his chair staring out of the window. An uncharacteristically sombre moment for the Fredster, so I hope he’s ok.

Roy is now more lively, and is demanding a nurse look at his leg. I suspect there’s nothing wrong with it, as they are ignoring him, so I think that’s just his way of making conversation. I’ll pop over in a bit and take a look if that’s what he wants.

Joseph made a fine effort of getting himself dressed, but a less than fine effort of pulling his curtain fully around, so I’ve been trying to avoid the sight of his flabby naked arse for the past ten minutes.

Robert refused breakfast, and when the nurse tried to tempt him with toast, his response was ‘stick yer fucking toast up yer fucking arse’. Heaven forbid I’m in here another night, but if I am, me and Bobby are having words.

My second fluid bag has finished, so a nurse came to take more blood, and pointed out that my birthday is one day after hers. She then asked me to guess how old she was, but if she thought I was playing that game, while she had a needle stuck in my arm, she must be mad.

On the whole, the team are ticking along nicely. And, in the time it has taken me to type this, Joe has mercifully located his underwear.

10:47am

I’m going home!

George was just visited by two physiotherapists. He managed to stand up by himself, but then immediately felt faint and had to sit down. They’ve said they don’t want to push him to do more, and will see him again tomorrow. He was only trying to stand up.

Freddie is sat reading his paper, but he’s been mostly staring into space or mindlessly out of the window. He’s just told a nurse he’s 94, and his wife passed away just down the corridor a ‘few years ago’, in 2005.

Roy is also sat in his chair, not moving, and simply looking at his lap.

Joseph is in quite good spirits, and just flirted with one of the nurses. He struggled to hear what the lunch options were, but eventually registered that there was pie on offer (I should hope so, as the nurse was screaming PIE at him for a full minute) and his face lit up. He’s looking forward to seeing his wife. He’s another who struggles to get out of his chair.

Robert is hiding under his covers. He’s refused to eat, wash, or get dressed. He looks utterly defeated.

Aside from Joseph, I don’t know whether any of the others have partners or family. They may get to go home soon, but it could be to an empty house. They may not go home at all. Ever.

If you have elderly neighbours who live alone, pay them a visit. It might only take a few minutes out of your day, but it could be the highlight of their week.

As soon as this cannula gets removed, I’m out of here, but most of these guys are staying. Spare them a thought, everyone. You’ve never met them, and it’s highly unlikely you ever will, but they’re my boys. And what a fucking team we were.

George.

Freddie.

Roy.

Joseph.

Even Robert.

It’s been an honour and a privilege, gents. You take care of yourselves.

Squadron leader, signing out.

***

Thanks for reading x

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Run Fatblog Run (Whitchurch)

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Last Sunday, I took part in the third event of my 10 x 10k charity challenge – in Whitchurch, Shropshire – and those of you who know me in ‘real life’, will probably be aware by now that things didn’t exactly go according to plan.

If you haven’t read any of the previous entries from this challenge (for the races at Oulton Park and, more recently, Poynton), let me summarise my targets:

  1. To run ten 10k events in 2018 – raising money for Kidscan;
  2. To complete them all in under fifty minutes;
  3. To finish in the top-third of entrants for each race;
  4. To not cry or shit myself.

Whilst those targets still remain intact following the Whitchurch 10k last weekend (although #4 was borderline for a while), I have decided – for health reasons – to relax my expectations for the remaining seven events.

Let me explain why.

Firstly, with each new race so far, the courses have become increasingly tougher, to the point that Whitchurch was ridiculously uphill in parts, fast downhill in others, and with very little ‘flat’ terrain in between. Now, whilst I accept the courses becoming tougher is entirely coincidental, and has nothing to do with my fitness deteriorating (contrary to what I am about to tell you, I am getting fitter), I am dreading the remaining races being even worse. At this rate, I’ll be running up Kilimanjaro for the final event.

Secondly, despite the fact the course took its toll on me, to the point my breathing was laboured as I re-entered the grounds of Sir John Talbot School (where the start and finish line was situated), I still decided I had just enough energy left for a sprint finish – and this, in hindsight, was a terrible idea.

I’m not sure whether it was because I started my sprint too soon, but with about fifty metres to go I began to struggle. I couldn’t breathe, I was completely drained, and it took every ounce of my concentration to force myself toward the finish line.

Sadly, I didn’t quite make it.

With no more than ten metres left, my legs suddenly buckled, and I hit the floor (which was fortunately grass). I then vaguely remember the announcer shouting my name out, urging me to get up and reach the finish line, but when I tried to move, I couldn’t even kneel, let alone stand and run.

The next thing I knew, a fellow runner knelt beside me, put my arm around his neck and lifted me to my feet – he was not going to let me give up (even though, having essentially dragged me half way home, he told me I was going to have to do some of the work, as I was getting ‘fucking heavy’). I have since discovered that this man was Mike Glover, and he sacrificed his own time and position to make sure I finished the race. If I ever track Mike down, I owe him a pint or two.

Anyway, I have a vague recollection of collapsing over the finish line, and the next ten minutes or so is a blur. I’ve been told a kind lady watched the boys, so that Jen could run over with a paramedic; and the fact I was almost unconscious, entirely grey, and unable to communicate, gave everyone cause for concern.

The next thing I remember, is lying on a stretcher in the medical tent, hooked up to machines and being given oxygen. To cut a long story short, I spent the next two hours undergoing tests, before being informed that:

  1. A runner’s heart rate should ideally drop back below 100bpm within minutes of finishing a race, whereas mine was still above 120bpm two hours later;
  2. My ECG results were ‘erratic’;
  3. My temperature had gone through the roof.

Most worrying of all, I was told that the valves in my heart weren’t working properly, so whilst the heart should normally operate like this…

… mine was so overworked, and racing so fast, that the second set of valves were opening before the first had closed. This meant that, rather than work as a pump, my heart was operating more like a tube, letting blood simply flow through it without becoming oxidised – and blood without oxygen, is about as useful as tits on fish.

For obvious reasons, the paramedics were not going to let me drive myself (and, more importantly, my family) back home, and they insisted that I go in an ambulance to hospital.

I won’t bore you with a lot of what happened next, save to say some friends of ours – Chris and Vanessa – were kind enough to drive from Sandbach to Whitchurch to collect my family and get them home, while I went off to Telford A&E.

I remained there for the next eight hours, undergoing further ECGs and blood tests, before the most elusive doctor in medical history finally turned up to recommend that I stay in overnight. This, as you can imagine, was disappointing news (read: I was livid), because I was still sweaty and muddy from the run, had no change of clothes, very little money, and my phone battery was nearly dead. As a result, getting home the next day was going to be difficult, and since I had been informed earlier that I was probably being discharged, I had already organised transport home (via a good friend of mine, Emerson, who had very kindly gone well out of his way to collect me).

Whilst I would not ordinarily go against medical advice, I genuinely felt ok by that point (albeit starving, as I hadn’t eaten in twelve hours), and I wanted more than anything to go home, so I decided to discharge myself. It would be fair to say the doctor didn’t take this well, but I’m not sure whether this was because she was genuinely concerned for my health, or because she didn’t like being questioned.

Either way, she reluctantly agreed to provide discharge forms, if I promised to go to my GP on Monday – which I hastily accepted; although, by that point, I would have agreed to paint her house, if it meant getting the fuck out of there.

I did go to my GP the following day, and was immediately (and annoyingly) referred to our local hospital in Crewe for more tests. There, I had yet another ECG scan, the remainder of what little blood I had left was drained for testing, and numerous other checks were undertaken, before I was reassured that all the worrying signs had thankfully subsided.

Unfortunately, they had been replaced by high CK levels (whatever they are), and the fact I was now dehydrated, so my kidneys apparently weren’t working properly. I tried to point out that they had only given me one small drink in six hours, so it was no wonder I was dehydrated, but the consultant was having none of it – I was staying in overnight.

Within an hour or so, I was moved to a bay of six beds, with five other men who were all well into their eighties, and seemingly not long for this world. I genuinely feared I might be the only one of us to make it through the night, and so I took it upon myself to make sure we were all alive come sunrise. More on that, next week.

For now, I’ll leave you with the ratings for the Whitchurch 10k, and promise you that – after what I’ve been through – I will not be pushing myself to run the remaining races in under fifty minutes. I’d still like to run them all, rather than walk, but I will not be risking my health again. It’s simply not worth it.

Time: 47:50 (a new PB – by some margin, whoops!)

Position: 135th (out of 691)

Cost: £15.50 (very reasonable)

Course: The worst yet. Very little flat running, extremely steep hills, plus a start/finish on wet grass. It was incredibly well marshaled, with fantastic support from the locals, but you could marshal the Himalayas, and it still wouldn’t mean I’d want to run up and down them 5/10

Weather: Dry, sunny and just warm enough – virtually perfect 9/10

Organisation: A digital race pack was sent out with a week to go, although (as with Poynton) the organisers left it until then to confirm earphones were banned. There was also an issue with some missing race numbers on the day, but by all accounts that wasn’t the organisers’ fault 7/10

Official Photos: They haven’t been uploaded yet, which is disappointing, so I can’t possibly comment on the quality. That said, I’m in no rush to see myself being carried over the finish line, and at least they are apparently free (you reading this, Poynton 10k?) 5/10

Here are some photos my wife took before the race instead….

Medal: Very smart, and again made of metal 7/10

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Goody-bag: The best yet – not only did we get an actual goody bag (with snacks, sweets, and a voucher for half a pint in a local Whitchurch pub), but we were also given a smart ‘technical’ running shirt. In fact, our boys were apparently so well-behaved, while I was receiving treatment in the medical tent, the organisers decided to give them a shirt each as well:

Take note, other events, this is how you do a goody-bag 9/10

Post-race refreshment: Now, I’m struggling here, as I was semi-conscious and missed out on the post-race delicacies, but I heard whispers of jelly babies at one point, and there was definitely fruit and water on offer. Seemingly standard fayre for most events, and the snacks in the goody bag were already more than enough 7/10

Summary:

Course – 5/10

Weather – 9/10

Organisation – 7/10

Photos – 5/10

Medal – 7/10

Goody-bag – 9/10

Refreshments – 7/10

Giving Whitchurch a score of 49/70 (or 70%), placing it firmly in the lead, ahead of Oulton Park and then Poynton.

Next is the Tatton Park 10k at the start of May, and, as ever, if you’d like to sponsor me (because, in all honesty, this running nearly killed me last Sunday), here’s my Just Giving page:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/greg10x10k

Next week, I’ll be telling you all about my hospital adventures with five very old men. Trust me, you don’t want to miss that one.

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Thanks for reading x

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Fungus The Blogeyman

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Hello everyone.

Let me introduce myself – I’m the Dummy Fairy. You may have heard of me – especially if you have young kids – since I’m kind of a big deal.

My job is relatively simple. If a child has become somewhat attached to having a dummy in their mouth, and all other attempts to wean them off have failed, parents contact me as a means of last resort to help them out. I then swoop in when the child is asleep (usually within 48 hours of getting the initial job sheet through from my office staff), and steal all remaining dummies from the house. The child then has no choice but to go cold turkey from that moment on.

Some of you may think this sounds cruel, but I find it’s the only guaranteed method of success, and I tend to leave a gift (or sometimes money – depending on the preference of the parent) in exchange for the child’s dummies, so it’s not all that bad. Besides, the dummies are then re-homed, to younger children who need them more, so nothing is wasted, and everything gets recycled. I pride myself on offering an environmentally-friendly service, and my carbon footprint is very much like my actual footprint – very small indeed.

Look, if my service didn’t work, I wouldn’t still be in business – and business has never been better. In fact, I started to get so busy a few decades ago, I had to go grovelling to that fat bastard Santa for some of his magic dust, so I could slow down time for my rounds.

Anyway, I’d argue my job is harder than Santa’s, because I have to be more thorough when visiting a child’s house. He only has to haul his colossal arse down a chimney, then throw some presents under a tree and leave; whereas I have to cover every square inch of the house, to make sure all the dummies have been collected, before I can even think about dropping the gift off and getting the hell out of there. You have no idea the pressure I am under, knowing that – at any given second – a child could wake up and spot me.

In fairness, he has to visit every child on the planet in just one night, whereas my rounds are restricted to only those kids with dummy addictions (at last year’s ‘P.E.N.I.S.’ Convention – Pixies, Elves, Nymphs, Imps & Sprites – it was estimated that our workload is roughly 4% of his), but he spends a fraction of the time in each house, and has 364 days of the year to plan his route – which is the same route every sodding year. Not me, though. I’m never off duty, and can be sent anywhere at the drop of a hat. It’s a good job fairies can’t get sick (apart from that pillock Tinkerbell, who claims to be ill every time someone doesn’t believe in her).

In the end, the workload became so much, the Fairy Council decided to divide the planet up into sections, and recruited a load more fairies like me to be responsible for one part of the globe each. As a result, I’m the Dummy Fairy responsible for the UK and Ireland; but we also now have, for example, the ‘Pacifier Pixie’ covering the United States (stupid fucking name, I know, but she insisted because she thinks it makes her sound cool); the ‘Chupete Clan’ deal with all the Spanish speaking countries; and the Germans have the ‘Schnuller Sprite’ (very efficient fairy, is Schnully, and one of the best in the business). Of course, parents in each of those countries may know their respective fairy by another name, but that’s the official titles they have been given by the Council.

Say what you like about us, but we offer a crucial role in society. Sure, there are other methods of weaning children away from their dummies, but studies have shown that Saliva Patches aren’t always that successful; Chewing Gum is generally advised against when it comes to young children; and don’t even get me started on these new-fangled electronic ‘e-dummies’. Total waste of money, and the child looks ridiculous vaping away on one of them all day long.

No, if you want your kids to give up dummies for good, you need to give one of us a call, and we guarantee success within a week – or your money back (actually, we have to say that, even though you only pay for the gift you want us to leave for your child, so there isn’t really any charge for what we do. We tried to re-brand the service as ‘no-success, no-fee’ a few years ago, but apparently the personal injury lawyers thought it was too similar to ‘no-win, no-fee’, and threatened to sue, so we had to back down).

If you still have any doubts about how successful our service is, let me introduce you to this little fella:

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His name is Isaac, and he lives in a place called Sandbach, in Cheshire. Until recently, he craved a dummy more than he clearly craves a hairbrush. At one stage, he had eight dummies on the go at the same time – not all in his mouth, obviously, but he had amassed quite the collection.

His parents had tried everything to break his addiction, but the most they had managed to achieve was restricting him to two dummies at bed time. They evidently decided this was a worthwhile compromise, if it meant getting just a tiny bit more sleep (it never fails to amaze me, the steps parents will go to for just a fraction more sleep; but since I’m awake all the time, I guess I will never understand what sleep-deprivation can do to a person).

However, with primary school looming this September, and disapproving glances from other parents, they finally reached breaking point, and gave me a call. Well, I say me, but I have a team of call centre operatives based just outside Delhi, who field my incoming work for me.

Within a day, I was on the case, and crept in to their house in the small hours to begin my search. They had already told me where most of the dummies were hidden, but I can’t afford any slip-ups in my line of work, so I still have to cover every part of the house. Imagine if a child was told the dummy fairy had taken their dummies away, to give them to younger children who needed them more, only to discover one under their bed, or down the back of the sofa? My reputation would be in tatters.

Once I was satisfied that the house was entirely dummy-free, I left one of my customary notes, explaining that Isaac was too big to have dummies now, and they were being put to better use, and I was on my way. Although not before leaving him a little gift to sweeten the deal.

Another successful result for the Dummy Fairy.

Of course, I always like to keep an eye on the child for a few days after removal, in case of any follow-up issues the parents may encounter (the withdrawal can be tough at times), but that’s just part of the service.

Anyway, that’s me. It was nice to finally meet you all, but I better dash, as I’m out for dinner tonight with the tooth fairy. Nasty piece of work, the tooth fairy, but he’s rolling in it (his parents died when he was six, when a toadstool collapsed and fell on them, and they left him a bloody fortune – hence why he can afford to pay some kids a fiver per tooth these days), so he always picks up the bill. And, if there’s one thing I like more than seeing a well-used dummy sent to a good home, it’s a free meal.

See you around some time – and, remember, not a word of this to any kids, ok?

Sleep tight, folks.

DF x

Fairy

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