Blogs Bunny

Last weekend, we decided to spend Sunday as a family, and have a ‘nice day out’.

Of course, with our boys, having a nice day out is unlikely at best, but my wife and I nevertheless persevere, in the hope that one day we will take them somewhere for a treat and they won’t be ungrateful little shits about it.

Also, I say ‘we’ decided on a family day out, but this was very much my wife’s suggestion, for the following reasons:

  1. You should spend time with family at Easter;
  2. The forecast promised (and delivered) glorious weather;
  3. Ollie and I were at the football on Saturday and Monday, so Sunday was our only chance to go out as a family before my return to work;
  4. No rational person can survive three consecutive days with only Isaac for company.

Naturally, I couldn’t argue with any of her points, because not only were they all valid, but after nearly fifteen years of marriage I know better than to argue with her at all.

So, having carefully researched our options (while I dozed on the sofa and periodically nodded at what I assumed might be appropriate points), my wife decided we should visit Tatton Park, as it’s less than half an hour from us, and they seemed to have a lot of Easter activities organised over the weekend.

download

When we arrived soon after 10am, we firstly headed towards the gardens, where I was persuaded to fork out £33 for a ‘Totally Tatton Ticket’, granting us access to the three main ‘attractions’ – Gardens, Mansion and Farm (I use the term ‘attractions’ loosely, because my personal view is that Nemesis at Alton Towers is an attraction, whereas gardens are merely ‘somewhere the elderly visit’; however my wife is a history teacher, so a 19th Century manor is like history-porn to her).

Having handed over my bank card, while muttering something under my breath about it being ‘so fucking expensive I can’t even use contactless’ (putting my pin in these days seems so last decade), we then entered the gardens themselves, where we were informed there was an ‘Easter Hunt’ going on. Better still, the hunt involved collecting a series of clues (which Ollie loves), by searching for hidden fairy doors (which Isaac loves), and the prize for completing the trail was a bag of chocolate each (which they both love).

57534089_10156294199758366_3131169465320865792_n

Afterwards, the boys wanted to climb trees in the woods, which always fills me with dread (because they have inherited my clumsiness), so it was bound to end in tears. Sure enough, while Ollie busied himself making a ‘lookout’ roughly six inches off the ground (honestly, he was still below my nipple-height, and I’m not that tall), Isaac opted to scale an entirely smooth part of the tree, with no branches to cling on to. See exhibit A:

58443842_10156294202713366_6577420793787973632_n

Sure enough, barely seconds after that photo was taken, Isaac did indeed slip, and smacked his head on the floor with such a bump, I honestly felt sick and started working out which was the nearest hospital. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t that bad, because although he immediately screamed bloody murder (which was a good sign, because it showed he didn’t have concussion), it transpired I had underestimated both (a) his protective pony-tail; and (b), the healing power of scoffing the entire bag of Smarties he had just won for completing the trail. Within minutes, he was fine again (albeit with a face covered in tear stains and chocolate smears).

Ollie, on the other hand, was by this point sobbing, because I had shouted at him. I tried to calmly explain that Daddy had only shouted because we thought Isaac might be paralysed, and at that precise moment in time, no, I didn’t give a flying fuck about a building he had spotted that looked like something out of Scooby Doo, but that did nothing to placate him, and he continued howling for far longer than Isaac had. And therein lies a summary of our kids: one is a bit of a wimp, while the other can take a direct – and potentially fatal – blow to the noggin, but recover within minutes.

When Ollie did finally stop crying, and following a further argument between us over the best route out of the gardens (which, rather annoyingly, he won – meaning I never got to perform the victory dance I had carefully choreographed), we stopped off for a quick picnic lunch, before making our way to Tatton Hall itself.

Once inside the Grade-I listed building, we realised there was another Easter hunt going on (with a further bag of Smarties on offer), only this time we had to walk around the house spotting clues to famous fairy tales. At this point, the ‘princess’ we had passed on the way in (a lady in a gold dress and tiara, who I had thought at the time was somewhat over-dressed, particularly considering most of the men around us were shirtless) suddenly made sense, and Isaac decided it was ‘Belle’ from Beauty and the Beast.

My wife therefore suggested we search for ‘the Beast’ (although didn’t appreciate me immediately pointing to my crotch and shouting ‘found it!’), and we discovered him in the next room. Both boys then surprised me, since the previously timid Isaac immediately went to hug the Beast for a photo, while Ollie pulled out a semi-decent joke, by wishing him ‘Happy Beaster’. Ok, it’s never going to win best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe, but for Ollie it was a comedic triumph (I honestly thought the elderly lady next to us was going to wet herself, although the same might have been true regardless).

57503523_10156294203923366_8072899415225925632_n

As the hunt continued, we ended up downstairs in the servants’ quarters, where my wife went into history teacher mode, educating our boys about the 19th Century class system. It was at this point she spotted a costume box, where kids could dress up like the impoverished youth of that period.

Now, if there is one thing I (apparently) find irresistible, it is the opportunity to dress like a Victorian maid, because that was the first costume I instinctively grabbed – shoving Isaac out of the way in the process. Please understand, it’s not that I enjoy dressing in women’s clothes per se, but for some reason I was drawn to the maid’s outfit over that of, say, the chimney sweep. I can’t explain it, but it’s not the first time this has happened (in the second photo below, taken a few years ago, we didn’t even have our kids with us), so it’s dangerously close to becoming a weird fetish.

Having successfully completed the hunt, the boys were awarded their chocolate prize by, quite frankly, the oldest fairy godmother I have ever seen, and we emerged from the adumbral (thank you, online thesaurus) Tatton Hall corridors, back into the Easter sunshine.

57533027_10156294204798366_7337785929672687616_n

As luck would have it, we overheard someone say the princess (who, it transpired, was Cinderella, not Belle), was posing for photographs nearby, so Isaac insisted we head straight there, and we found her soon afterwards, alongside one of her ugly sisters – who made my earlier attempt at drag look positively sexy.

When Isaac reached the front of the queue, my wife decided to avoid any awkward misunderstandings by introducing him as a ‘prince meeting a princess’. To her credit, Cinders got the hint, and even went so far as to crouch down to tell Isaac that his hair was fantastic, that more boys should have long hair, and he should never, ever, cut it.  This made his day. Bless her.

58033037_10156294205133366_1406369590623076352_n

From there, we headed to the farm, where we were informed ‘story time’ had just started in one of the buildings. Having dashed over, we discovered a lady reading ‘The Gingerbread Man’ to a group of children, but space was limited, so I was left on one side of the room with a strange family (I’m sure they were perfectly pleasant, but they were strange to me), while my wife and boys sat opposite.

As if this weren’t weird enough, another couple then arrived and squeezed in through the door next to me, meaning I had to stand/crouch immediately behind my newly adopted family, while the latest arrivals blocked my exit (I had been planning to make a quiet escape when no one was looking).

Worse, they were clearly not my kind of people, as they were both extremely aware of how good-looking they thought they were (he had his ‘guns’ out in a vest-top, while she was wearing a long dress more suited to Marbella than a farm, together with enough fake tan to drown a fucking horse, and the sort of ludicrously-long false eyelashes that would have looked better on said horse before its mahogany-coloured demise).

In fact, she appeared to be the only person less-impressed to be there than me, whereas at least muscles attempted a few animal noises at the appropriate parts of the story (when, incidentally, Isaac nailed his pig impression, and I don’t think he’s ever made me prouder – which says a lot about his achievements to date).

To end the day, because the boys had achieved a cumulative total of seventeen minutes where they hadn’t been completely dreadful, we decided to go for dinner at a nearby pub as a final treat (read: reward for Daddy for not killing anyone).

Here, Ollie informed us that Easter Sunday is his ‘third favourite day of the year’ (after Christmas Day and his birthday), because ‘you get to eat chocolate all the time, even for breakfast in bed’. I had to then point out that, actually, he wasn’t allowed to eat chocolate in bed, because there was no way Daddy would be sniffing any brown stains on his sheets to check if they were Cadbury’s or shit.

And, while we’re on the subject of shit (sorry), Isaac yet again decided he needed the toilet just as our food arrived, and since he was very much anti-Daddy by this point, it fell to my wife to accompany him to the bathroom.

When they returned several minutes later, I asked if it had been a successful visit (Isaac encounters a lot of false alarms), and my wife’s response of ‘I can’t un-see what just happened’ told me everything I needed to know. I certainly didn’t need Isaac to loudly announce to the entire pub:

“My poo was so big, the water splashed my bum!”

Image result for retching gif

Thanks for reading x

Standard

Don’t Blog Back In Anger

Over the past year or so, I have genuinely started to question whether I need to see an anger management therapist.

The thing is, expressing one’s anger is sometimes better than bottling it up (unless you happen to be American and heavily armed), and if I were a more placid and laid-back individual, then I suspect this blog wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as it is – and it’s not very popular. Plus, I’d have to change the name to something like ‘The Tranquil Musings of a Middle-Aged Father who is Ultimately Content with His Life’ and, let’s be honest, that would be shit. But I do feel that perhaps I shouldn’t become quite so angry over what are, essentially, trivial annoyances at worst.

For example, everyone is entitled to get mad when something genuinely bad happens in their life, and I cannot be the only person to have sworn a little whilst driving (even though I would never confront another motorist, or engage in actual road rage, as I find a simple hand gesture insinuating that the offending BMW driver enjoys pleasuring himself often suffices), but here are a few recent examples of occasions when my pent-up fury has arguably reached excessive levels:

1. Every parent knows only-too-well how painful it is to stand on a piece of Lego with bare feet (I recently asked my wife to compare the pain to childbirth, and she just glared at me, so I think that speaks volumes and we can all draw our own conclusions from her silence), but it is hardly the piece of plastic’s fault.

default-1464386068-352-why-does-standing-on-lego-hurt-so-much

With that in mind, and assuming it would have been considered poor taste to direct the resulting vitriolic outburst at whichever child was responsible for leaving the Lego in the precise spot where Daddy’s exposed foot was likely to be placed, I found I had no choice other than to scream ‘fucking motherfucker’ at the offending piece of plastic – which, in hindsight, was somewhat extreme.

Look, I’m not proud of it, and I still maintain this was preferable to slinging the same abuse at the boys; but I started to question whether, in some weird way, it might have been better to refrain from calling anyone/anything a fucking motherfucker. Did I overreact? Perhaps;

2. On my commute home recently (which is so often the cause of many angry expletives, because I seemingly share my journey with a group of lobotomised morons), I became irrationally – and, I accept, completely disproportionately – incensed by the rear end of a Land Rover Discovery:

Land-Rover-Discovery-offset-plate

The reason for my rage? Well, that would be the slight asymmetry. I know it’s irrational, but I can handle a registration plate being completely to one side, such as in former Discovery models like this one:

262505

But to have the registration plate marginally off-centre is utterly fucking pointless. I even pointed this out to my wife, and she just glared at me again, which I now know is her way of agreeing with me entirely;

3. Even more recently (read: within the last half an hour), I pondered over an appropriate title for this week’s entry, and having settled on Oasis’ song, I honestly switched between ‘Don’t Blog Back In Anger’ and ‘Don’t Look Blog In Anger’ so many times, I wanted to physically hurt myself.

The thing is, ‘Don’t Blog Back in Anger’ definitely works better as a phrase, but then I’m replacing the word ‘Don’t’ rather than the word ‘Back’, and the latter begins with a ‘B’. This goes against everything I stand for, because I have always tried to substitute the word Blog for something similar in whichever phrase or title I have settled on for that week’s entry (or, even better, something that actually rhymes with blog – but, I’ll be honest, I’m running out of those), and it got me really quite mad.

Image result for angry gif

In fact, if my work colleague had not been sat opposite me throughout the lunch-break I started writing this week’s entry, I genuinely fear I might have thrown the laptop across the room to make myself feel better. Can you imagine if I lost my job, because I destroyed work property over a fucking blog title?

Therein lies my problem. I personally think it’s good to get angry and blow off some steam from time-to-time, and it certainly presents me with some of my better writing material, but I am teetering on the precipice of a full breakdown now, over something so trivial even I struggle to justify getting irate about it. It’s a good job I’m not American.

And, while we’re on the subject (because this is genuinely helping me to calm down, so thanks for the free therapy), why, when someone does offload their burdens, is it referred to as ‘getting something off their chest’, or – even worse – ‘venting their spleen’?

I assume the former is something to do with the impact it has on your blood pressure, and the obvious connections between stress, anger, and heart attacks (which, bearing in mind this week saw the anniversary of my collapse at the Whitchurch 10k last year, when for a good few hours the medical professionals all agreed a heart attack was the most likely cause, is still very much a personal concern for me); but if something is bothering you then the issue is entirely in your head, not your chest. So, why don’t we say ‘Look, I need to get the asymmetry of the recent Land Rover Discovery off my brain/out of my head’?

Then, we have spleen venting. What the fuck is that all about? I got a B in Biology at A-Level, and even studied it as a minor subject in the first year of my Law Degree at Lancaster University, but I still had to Google what the spleen is even for. If you’re interested, it’s for filtering the blood, apparently, but don’t you dare tell me you already knew that, unless you happen to be a medical professional who specialises in Spleentology or Spleenectomies (don’t bother checking, they’re both real words).

In all honesty, before I read up about the spleen on Wikipedia a moment ago (and, if it’s on Wikipedia, what I read must be true), you could have told me that the spleen is an entirely useless organ that humans can easily survive without – like the appendix, or, more recently for me, the penis – and I would have thought twice about questioning you.

So why do we ‘vent our spleens’ when we get angry? What has the spleen got to do with anger? Why do we not aerate our kidneys, oxygenate our livers, or open our bowels? Ok, maybe not the last one.

The point is, even discussing anger has now got me angry, and that’s when I begin to suspect my temper might be getting out of hand, and I should perhaps seek professional help.

Then again, at other times, I realise that the problem is not necessarily me – it’s other people. If other people would stop being dickheads, and would just behave normally, we’d all get along famously – and my blood pressure might remain at healthy levels.

For example, since I wrote the majority of this week’s entry on Tuesday, there have been at least three instances of dickhead behaviour directed toward me, which even the most placid of individuals would have found infuriating.

Firstly, on my drive into work on Wednesday morning, a taxi driver turned right from the left hand lane of a two-lane roundabout, without indicating, narrowly missing hitting my car at speed. Now, had he accepted his actions were reckless and apologised, he may have escaped with a simple ‘what the fuck was that?!’, but he somehow decided the near-miss was my fault, and swore at me. Needless to say, I called him every abusive word I could think of (and some I invented on the spot).

Secondly, when I went for a run last night, the motorists and pedestrians of Sandbach all conspired to make the experience even less pleasurable than it already is. The pedestrians constantly blocked the pavements, forcing me into the road, while the motorists drove at me and beeped their horns (for no apparent reason other than to try and give me a heart attack).

Image result for giving the finger gif

Finally, both boys have behaved like morons all week, and haven’t gone to sleep until nearly 10pm each night. Isaac, in particular, appears to be determined to break his bed, by jumping and dancing on it while singing songs from The Greatest Showman late into the night. This has meant my wife and I get very little evening to ourselves, have ended up eating dinner way later than is healthy; and, when we have finally made it to bed, we have been joined by P.T. Barnum himself within a few hours, resulting in us having to sleep on around six inches of mattress*.

*Just to clarify, when I say ‘P.T. Barnum’ joined us in bed, this is a reference to Isaac and his love of The Greatest Showman, rather than my wife’s love of Hugh Jackman. Believe me, if he joined us in bed, she’d be hoping for a little more than six inches to sleep on.

download

On that note, thanks for reading x

Standard

I’m Kind of a Blog Deal

maxresdefault

I have set myself the target of meeting someone famous by the time I am forty (which, if you have been paying attention, is next February – and, yes, I do expect a card off every single one of you).

My reason for setting this target is that I have never really met anyone properly famous before, and even though I suspect I would be one of those awkward fans who stumbles over their words and embarrasses themselves, I bet celebrities get that all the time, and as long as I end up with a nice photo or autograph (or both) as proof, then the embarrassment will fade over time.

In all honesty, I have ‘met’ quite a few celebrities in the past – and yes, I was awkward on most of those occasions – but either they weren’t very famous at the time (and are even less so now), or the encounter was not by chance. By that, I mean I met them at something like a CD or book signing, or I was at an event where they were otherwise obliged (i.e. forced) to mingle with the public.

Therein lies the primary rule of my challenge – I have to properly meet someone properly famous. In other words:

1. I have to properly meet them – it cannot be a pre-organised event, and must be an entirely random encounter. I cannot count publicity events, and I am not allowed to hang around outside gig venues, theatres, their homes etc. (especially not after that time Holly Willoughby caught me lurking in her bush).

Image result for creepy wink gif

I suspect my best opportunities will arise at airports, train stations and major sporting events, but since I don’t have plans to fly anywhere this year, and very few celebrities frequent Stockport County, that means I’ll be doing a lot of hanging around in train stations.

2. They must be properly famous – I am being realistic here, so I don’t expect to bump into Barack Obama in Tesco, but the famous person I meet needs to be someone you have all heard of, who would be considered at least B-List. A film/television star, singer/artist, or comedian would be my preferred choice (particularly the latter, so that – if I have the confidence – I can ask them to look at my blog page, in a bid to launch my career in comedy writing).

To give you examples of encounters which would not qualify for this challenge, let me run through the semi-famous people I have met/been in the vicinity of throughout my thirty-nine-and-a-bit years on this planet, and you can judge how utterly shit they are for yourselves.

Let’s start from the very bottom, shall we?

Ben Hull and James Redmond

Look, I said we’d be starting low, and it doesn’t get much lower than two actors who used to be on Hollyoaks twenty years ago; but, in my defence, it was twenty years ago when I met them (so they were semi-recognisable at the time), and I am 99% certain I was off my tits on cheap lager and Castaway when it happened.

The reason I say that, is because the meeting took place at the Sugarhouse nightclub in Lancaster (where I went to University), and I cannot recall a single night at the Sugarhouse – which we frequented weekly – when I didn’t consume vast quantities of Fosters and Castaway (separately, I’m not an animal), because they were always £1. Nowadays, you would need to pay me to even consider necking a pint of Fosters, but oh God how I miss Castaway. It was like alcoholic Lilt.

The worst part of this encounter is, ‘Finn’ and ‘Lewis’ from Hollyoaks were making a guest appearance at the Sugarhouse for a meet-and-greet photo opportunity, and I actually queued up for the privilege.

I know what you’re thinking, as well. The idea of a young, single, good-looking lad like me, queuing up to meet two crappy soap actors rather than working the dancefloor in the never-ending hunt for amorous congress is frankly ridiculous, but please bear in mind:

  • I have never been good-looking;
  • Meeting Finn and Lewis was (slightly) preferable to being rejected by numerous women;
  • My then girlfriend (now wife) was with me at the time.

It seemed like a good idea, but, in hindsight, it wasn’t.

Alan Davies

download (1)

I was in two minds whether to even mention Alan, as it was in the middle of Manchester Piccadilly train station, and he looked stressed, so I never actually approached him. Therefore, it’s not an encounter, should be technically discounted, but it’s still marginally better than two blokes from a shit Channel 4 soap.

Mackenzie Crook

Mckenzie-Crook-1185088

See above, only exchange ‘Manchester Piccadilly’ for ‘The Royal Mile, Edinburgh’ (he was trying to flog tickets to a play he was in at the Fringe), and swap ‘stressed’ for ‘smug and unapproachable’. I think, on balance, I would have preferred to meet Alan Davies, but since Mackenzie has appeared in actual Hollywood movies (The Pirates of the Caribbean springs to mind), he’s marginally higher up my list.

Simon Rimmer

59902e9b22000044001a5a91

My wife and I met TV chef Simon Rimmer at the ‘North West Food Lovers Festival’ in Tatton Park about eight years ago, but it was as part of a cookery presentation / book signing he was there for, so it doesn’t really count. Still, we did at least speak to him.

Feeder, Mansun, Lit

I’ve lumped these three bands and their various members together (in decreasing order of fame), because I did at least meet them, get their autographs, and have my photo taken; but all three encounters were in a signing tent at the Leeds Festival, so they were by no means random.

Gary Pallister and Steve Bruce

Non-football fans may not have heard of these two pig-ugly ex-Manchester United gibbons, but when I met them in the Kingfisher pub in Poynton in the late 80’s, they were household names. That said, they were the special guest appearance at my brother’s football team’s end of season awards night, so they were not there by chance – plus, I was still too young to fully appreciate my hatred of all things Manchester United, so I didn’t even swear/spit at them.

Terrorvision

tr_front_image

I would argue that Terrorvision are of similar fame to Feeder, but they happen to be my favourite live band of all time, and I have actually met all but the drummers (there have been two) on a few occasions. The lead singer, Tony Wright, did briefly front another band, who I saw live at a very small venue, and I chatted with him for some time – but then embarrassed myself by producing a vast array of Terrorvision memorabilia for him to sign.

Carol Vorderman

carol-vorderman-purple-dress-t

Not so famous these days (although she was flaunting her curves in the press last week), and as far as ‘mathematicians from Countdown’ go, I’d far sooner meet Rachel Riley now, but I had the ‘honour’ of receiving a science prize from her at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry when I was at Primary School, and from recollection she was lovely. The prize was a lego race car too (one of the big fuckers which costs a fortune).

In other news, the fact that ‘receiving a science prize off Carol Vorderman, in a museum, when I was eight’, is my 4th biggest claim to fame of all time, gives you some idea of what a sad little loser I was/am.

Liza Tarbuck

p01y4d5l

The first of two encounters in my wife’s uncle’s pub in Islington. This first one, features Liza Tarbuck, who actually came across as quite pleasant during her stint on Taskmaster last year (if you don’t watch Taskmaster, you really should as it’s brilliant), but I know better.

I know Liza as the foul-mouthed woman who intruded on our private party, and when my mother-in-law challenged whether she should be there, she genuinely came out with the line ‘Don’t you know who I am?’

The story is only bettered by my mother-in-law’s response, which was along the lines of ‘Yes, but you don’t appear to know who I am. I’m the sister of the guy who owns this pub, so piss off’ (or words to that effect).

Liza is not as famous as some of her predecessors on my list, but I’ve bumped her up into third place, purely because of that anecdote.

Suggs and ‘Billy’ from Eastenders

On one of my first ever visits to the same pub, I watched the 2002 FA Cup Final, sandwiched (not literally) between Suggs from Madness, and the fella who plays/ed Billy Mitchell in Eastenders. I’ve just checked, and the actor’s name is Perry Fenwick, which is about as cockney a name as you can possibly get.

I didn’t really speak to either of them, but I did spend a few hours in their company, and at least one of them is famous.

Delia Smith

hqdefault

I love Delia.

The ‘joint majority shareholder’ of Norwich City, is perhaps best known in the footballing world for her ‘drunken’ rant during the Canaries’ game against Man***ster City in March 2005, but for me she will always be fondly remembered for two  reasons:

  1. Delia personally intervened and switched a Norwich pre-season friendly to Coventry from Carrow Road, when it transpired the match was going to clash with – and ruin – our wedding reception. For that, I will forever admire her;
  2. She also popped up in our local pub in Stockport, prior to my beloved County playing Norwich in 2009, and despite swarms of Norwich fans mobbing her for a photo, she made a point of coming over to talk to me by the bar, as she was interested in County’s current financial struggles and fight against administration. Reports that I may have drunkenly begged her to invest in County are largely unsubstantiated.

Oh, and I have ‘met’ Delia one further time, again at Carrow Road when enjoying the pre-match hospitality in one of her restaurants there, but our encounter was restricted to me very nearly breaking her nose whilst trying to take my coat off at the cloak room (my arm had become stuck in the sleeve, and it suddenly freed just as she walked directly behind me).

***

So, there you have it. I’ve never properly met anyone properly famous, and I have until next February to rectify that. Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you all posted. Perhaps…..

phillip-schofield-and-holly-willoughby-68203b6dff9247946c421

Well, a man can dream.

Thanks for reading x

Standard

My Blogcentennial

16831828_1905251816375331_8071238399932862394_n

 

A little over four years ago

I sat in my office and stared at the snow

Looked down at my files, and, feeling forlorn

I started to write, and this blog was born

 

I work as a lawyer, as most of you know

But wish that I didn’t, it’s got me quite low

So, thinking about my one true passion

A weekly blog, I started to fashion

 

In truth, at first, looking back with reflection

My writing was random, no sense of direction

Part autobiography, part family tree

I focused on the stuff that was personal to me

 

I decided to call my blog ‘Sandbach Chatter’

But I wrote about things which don’t really matter

And soon I realised the more favoured releases

Were about our boys, and the ‘ranting’ style pieces

 

11174960_1634731386760710_7297425025766771879_n

 

So, with public opinion suitably gauged

I realised I was becoming more middle-raged

I changed to ‘Confessions of a Middle-Raged Dad’

Which turned out to be the best idea I’ve had

 

16807538_1902645316635981_4774031914834590194_n

 

The rather dry posts about my childhood days

The films that I like, computer games played

Were increasingly swapped for harsh diatribe

As that seemed to get more folks to subscribe

 

I gathered more followers, and after a while

Developed my own unique writing style

At first apprehensive, and a little bit wary

I grew in confidence and got rather sweary

 

54204353_2346477228919452_2700504375767334912_n.jpg

 

And even though I have no fame or money

I love writing about what I find funny

The only thing better is when you guys laugh too

For that I’m eternally grateful to you.

 

There’s been rants about cars (especially Ford)

Elton John’s lyrics and flying abroad

Building a Wendy house, getting stuck in Ikea

(I barely survived, it’s my one greatest fear)

 

download

 

The beach, the weather, nursery rhymes

The show ‘Take Me Out’, social media crimes

World domination – I set out my plan

While explaining I’m hardly the manliest man

 

42161687_2234152923485217_4584365529594068992_n

 

A flight to Norwich, a UK road trip

I then started running and fucked up my hip

I visited my local osteopath

But she said I was ‘stiff’ and I started to laugh

 

I’ve played rounders with work, badminton with some friends

Spent hours at ‘soft play’ on countless weekends

The lands of CBeebies, that bitch Peppa Pig

And then Euro Disney (it’s so fucking big)

 

346165

 

A trip to the dentist, an awkward position

That time I collapsed when I saw my optician

I’m not much a swimmer, and can’t really dance

I pass out quite a bit, I’m no good at romance

 

Speaking of which, gave ‘Love Island’ a try

But within fifteen minutes was left asking why?

The phrases on Love Hearts, they’re just as bad

‘Cwtch Me’, in particular, got me quite mad

 

I discussed Valentine’s, and displays of affection

Then mocked the US Presidential Election

I gave the Super Bowl a genuine go

But fell asleep before the big half-time show

 

images (1)

 

I tried public speaking, and astrology

I re-wrote the Christmas nativity

I’ve admitted my fondness for Eurovision

And my hatred of Hastings after last year’s collision

 

53788212_10157122231101350_2141149791009112064_n

 

A weekend entertaining Ollie’s class bear

(his name’s also Isaac, but he has shorter hair)

And speaking of which, I have to admit

I’m jealous of Isaac not giving a shit

 

33618697_10155589238133366_5199550931103907840_n

 

People laugh at his hair, they think he’s a she

But I’d give my left arm to be half as pretty

When he started school, I had a good laugh

Though the blog which I wrote got passed ‘round the staff

 

20180904_083628

 

A caravan holiday, camping at school

Misplacing my balls in a cold outdoor pool

A ferry to Ireland, to see an old friend

His surprise birthday party was fun to attend

 

Ollie’s visit to Barca a resounding success, he

toured round the Camp Nou and got to see Messi

While back here in England, wind started to blow

Roads ground to a halt with a dusting of snow

 

I re-wrote the two-year development checks

And a poem for Ollie when he asked about sex

A new royal baby, press camped on the roof

Kate Middleton pushing a prince out her foof

 

screen-shot-2019-03-25-at-15-07-22.png

 

I tried to diet, when I noticed weight gain

Compared my ideas to the ‘sperm in my brain’

I’ve criticised Barclays, slagged off Facebook

Become the tooth fairy (that was a good look)

 

48278050_2286620911571751_3411769222185877504_n

 

I tried single-parenting when my wife went away

She left Monday morning, I gave up by Tuesday

Isaac’s first disco, our boys got girlfriends

Had a row at a quiz with a team of bellends

 

Compared all my clients to the Mr. Men

Had the same work appraisal again and again

Had a fight with a moth, criticised Halloween

Got chased by a Volvo like a James Bond chase scene

 

I’ve visited BrewDog to sample some beer

Ran ten 10k races in the space of a year

Collapsed at Whitchurch and as my reward

Was rushed to hospital, spent the night on a ward

 

20180408_143837

 

My ‘team’ of old men really gave me a fright

When I didn’t think they would all last through the night

I’ve given up chocolate, I’ve started to cook

Explained why I swear (but I don’t give a fuck)

 

That’s why I love writing, the freedom I have

To post what I want, and make people laugh

If you all stopped reading, I think I’d still write

But I’d have much less fun and it wouldn’t feel right

 

So, thanks for the likes, the comments and shares

It gives me a tingle in the fella downstairs

Another two hundred though? Well, we shall see

For now, I’ll just wish Happy Blogday to me!

 

Thanks for reading – cheers x

11168590_1634346080132574_2806771653650695025_n

Standard

Unblogievable

Last year, I wrote a blog entry about my car insurers, and how useless they were being following a minor (non-fault) bump I had been subjected to a few weeks earlier (https://middlerageddad.com/2018/05/04/minor-bloggywork-damage/)

I said at the time, it would probably be unwise of me to refer to my insurers by name, particularly when using phrases like ‘fucking incompetent’, but if I told you they share their name with a famous battle that took place in 1066, you may be able to work it out (clue: it’s not Aviva, although they are fucking incompetent too – oops). As a further clue, here is their logo, which I have doctored to preserve their anonymity:

53788212_10157122231101350_2141149791009112064_n

Anyway, I try not to repeat blog topics wherever possible – particularly those which aren’t very popular – but since my (now former) insurers recently achieved the unthinkable, by achieving levels of incompetence even I didn’t think were possible, I felt it only right to bring matters to your attention. Not only will it be therapeutic for me (and cheaper than seeking professional help for my anger management), but it may prevent you – and any others you happen to warn – from ever insuring with this company in the future.

To make my dealings with Hastings more entertaining for you (oops again, although it’s not like you hadn’t worked out who they were – unless your knowledge of history is even worse than mine, and you were sat pondering whether there was ever a ‘Battle of Sheila’s Wheels’), I have chosen to dramatise our exchanges.

Enjoy.

Part I – ‘The Renewal E-mail’

Hastings: Hello. Did you know your motor insurance is due for renewal next month? Don’t worry, though, because we’ll automatically assume you want to stay with us, and we’ll renew it for you when the current policy expires, for just a slightly increased premium.

Me: How much of an increase?

Hastings: Not much. Roughly double what you paid last year.

Me: Right, and why is that?

Hastings: Well, you did have that accident, didn’t you?

Me: You mean the accident which wasn’t my fault, where you authorised repairs to my car without my permission, still haven’t told me how much the repairs and hire car cost, ignored my e-mails for six months, have so far paid me compensation twice for the complaints I made about your shit company? The accident which still hasn’t been resolved a year later? That accident?

Hastings: That’s the one!

Me: And do you remember the last time I contacted you, when I said something along the lines of “you must be the worst company I have ever had the misfortune to deal with, so don’t bother contacting me when this policy expires, because I would rather insure my car with that Nigerian Prince who keeps emailing me?”

E8Zdx4W.png

Hastings: Oh, yeah. We thought you were maybe joking, or that you might have changed your mind.

Me: I haven’t. Fuck off, and stick your renewal quote up your arse, because I don’t want any more to do with your company.

Hastings: Maybe we can do a deal? You know, reduce the premium for you?

Me: Unless you plan on halving it, there really isn’t any point. Besides, I warned you about this last year, when I said you should always offer your best quote from the start, not wait for the customer to get pissed off and threaten to leave before reducing it down.

Hastings: But we don’t want to lose you.

Me: Then you shouldn’t have been shit.

Hastings: Please? For old time’s sake? It’ll only take a few minutes.

Me: Fine. But this is your last chance.

Hastings: Thanks! You won’t regret this!

[Five minutes later]

Hastings: Good news! We’ve managed to reduce your premium!

Me: Right. Presumably you’ve reduced it by at least £200, otherwise you would have simply disconnected the call?

Hastings: Not exactly.

Me: Go on. How much?

Hastings: £8.23.

Image result for face palm gif

Me: Fuck off, and never contact me again.

Part II – ‘The Expiry E-Mail’

Hastings: Hey there. Erm, we’ve renewed your policy for you, because it was due to expire today, but we’ve not been able to take that extortionate premium out of your account. What gives?

Me: You did WHAT?! I told you I didn’t want to renew my policy, and that I never want to hear from you again. I couldn’t have been any clearer. How could you possibly think that meant ‘please renew my policy automatically”?

Hastings: Well, we didn’t want you driving around without insurance. That’s an offence.

Me: I’m well aware of that, which is why I told you I had already insured my vehicle with another company. I’ll say again: I don’t want to insure my car with you ever again, I didn’t want you to renew my policy, and you better cancel it now.

Hastings: You’ll have to phone us for that. We can’t cancel by e-mail.

Me: I’m not spending my lunch break, at my own expense, waiting on hold to finally speak to someone who clearly failed their McDonald’s Entrance Exam. It’s your mistake, so fucking cancel it.

Hastings: Sorry, we can’t cancel via e-mail once it’s renewed.

Me: But I asked you to cancel it before it was renewed.

Hastings: Yes, but it’s renewed now. So, you’ll have to phone. You should be grateful, really. We were only trying to protect you so you didn’t drive around without insurance.

Me: I have insurance! Just because the policy isn’t with your shit-show of a company, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Hastings: Phone us.

Me: What happens if I don’t?

Hastings: We’ll keep trying to take the premium out of your account.

Me: Well, firstly, it’s a good job you didn’t manage to take the payment, because it would have sent me overdrawn, and then you really would be in trouble. Secondly, my bank card details changed last year, fortunately for you, so you can keep trying to take the payment all you like, it’s not going to work.

Hastings: Well, if we can’t take the payment, we’ll have to cancel your policy.

Me: GOOD! That’s what I want!

Hastings: So, will you phone us now?

Me: No.

Part III – ‘The Payment Call’

Hastings: Hi. It’s Hastings. Weird one, but we tried to take a payment for your new policy a few days ago, and it didn’t work. Can I take the long number from the front of your new card?

Me: No.

Hastings: Why not?

Me: Do you idiots not speak to each other? I told you weeks ago I don’t want to renew, then you automatically did it anyway –

Hastings: That was to protect you so you weren’t driving around without ins-

Me: Don’t interrupt me when I’m bollocking you. I said I didn’t want to renew, you ignored that, and thankfully my card details have changed so you couldn’t take the payment. Cancel. The. Fucking. Policy.

Hastings: You need to phone us for that. We can’t cancel by e-mail once the policy has automatically renewed.

Me: So you keep saying. Well, we’re on the phone now, aren’t we?

Hastings: Yes.

Me: So cancel the policy.

Hastings: Ah. I can’t. See, I work in the ‘chasing people for payments we aren’t entitled to’ department. You want the ‘we better cancel this poor bastard’s policy quickly, as he’s on the brink of driving down here with an axe’ department. I’ll transfer you through.

[Five minutes later]

Hastings: Hello, you’re through to the ‘we better cancel this poor bastard’s policy quickly, as he’s on the brink of driving down here with an axe’ department. How can I help?

Me: Cancel. My. Policy.

Hastings: Can I ask why? Something we did?

Me: Did your colleague not pass on any details?

Hastings: Nope.

Me: Jesus wept. Right. Accident last year, not my fault, you still haven’t resolved it, fixed my car without checking the cost with me first, put me in an expensive hire car without checking the cost with me first, dicked about for six months doing nothing, ignored my e-mails, sent me two cheques following complaints to apologise for being shit, wanted to renew my policy, I said not to, you did it anyway and tried to take a payment.

Hastings: Oh.

Me: Yes, ‘oh’.

Hastings: Well, I can transfer you through to the ‘utterly-hopeless-at-claims, claims team’ if you like?

Me: I wouldn’t waste your time.

Hastings: Ok. Well, I don’t deal with that side of the business, but what you probably don’t understand, because it is quite technical, is that claims can take some time.

Me: Look, before you patronise me about how long simple non-fault accident claims can take, sweet heart, maybe check your records to see what I do for a living.

Hastings: Erm, ok…… Ah, you’re a personal injury solicitor.

Me: Bingo. So, you can stop with all the lies about claims now.

Hastings: Shall we just cancel your policy then?

Me: What a splendid idea. Let’s do that.

Hastings: The thing is, there should be a charge for the four days of cover you’ve had….

Me: I beg your pardon?

Hastings: …but, as a gesture of goodwill, we we’ll waive it.

Me: I should bloody hope so.

Hastings: And we’ll waive the admin fee. Again, as a gesture of goodwill.

Me: How about this for a gesture of goodwill?

Hastings: I don’t understand.

Me: I’m sticking my middle finger up at you. In hindsight, I realise this is an entirely visual gesture.

Hastings: Well, that’s your policy cancelled. On behalf of Hastings, I’d like to thank you for your custom, and hopefully you’ll consider coming back to us next year…

Me: Not a chance.

Part IV – ‘The Survey Text’

Hastings: Based on your recent experience of Hastings, with 10 being ‘I love them!’ and 0 being ‘I hope they all rot in hell’, how would you rate the service you received?

Image result for astonished gif

Me: -5

Hastings: The figure must be between 0 and 10. It’s 10, isn’t it?

Me: 0

Hastings: Can we ask why?

Me: No.

***

I sincerely hope my new insurers perform better (not that they could offer a worse service, I suspect). Again, I won’t mention them by name, but let’s just say they’re an anagram of VL.

Thanks for reading x

Standard

BrewBlog

Last Thursday, I went to ‘Beer School’.

This is not a euphemism for simply going out and getting drunk, nor is it my way of admitting I took a six-pack with me when collecting the boys from school (the temptation is often there, believe me) – it was actually an evening of beer education (and, most importantly, tasting), run by the BrewDog brewery, which was a Christmas present from my in-laws.

The voucher was for myself and a friend (although I did briefly contemplate going alone and consuming twice as much), to visit any BrewDog pub for their weekly Beer School, which is essentially an evening of beer and cheese tasting.

c700x420

I should explain, at this point, that aside from the fact I am very firmly of the view beer and cheese do not go together (in my opinion, cheese should be paired with wine, or perhaps pineapple; while beer is better suited to crisps, nuts, and meat), I am not a huge fan of cheese full stop. I know this places me in the minority, but my personal preference is for cheese to be as mild as possible, melted, and either atop a pizza, or mixed in to a pasta dish, so that I cannot taste it.

Nevertheless, I decided that, for an evening of drinking beer, and more importantly some time away from the children (I love them dearly, but so help me God I need a break every now and then), I would either have to man-up and eat some cheese (there’s a phrase you don’t hear every day); or, more likely, explain on arrival that my voucher was a gift, and I do not really like cheese. The way I saw it, worst-case scenario was that they might think me a little odd; while best-case scenario was that they would take pity on me, and pair my beers up with some delicious sausages instead.

When it came to selecting someone to accompany me, I invited my (joint) oldest friend, who we shall call Tim – because, well, that’s his name. When I say that Tim is my ‘oldest’ friend, I don’t mean he is ancient (although he does turn forty next month, which is frankly nothing short of a miracle, because he is both reckless and fearless, and regularly places himself in harm’s way), but I have known him since I was nine. That means we are celebrating thirty years of friendship this year, which struck me as sufficient reason to sink a few beers.

brewdogjpeg

When we arrived at BrewDog in Manchester, there was just enough time to grab a quick pint, before heading to the reserved ‘Beer School’ table… which was deserted. I immediately panicked that it would only be us in attendance, but thankfully an older couple arrived within a few minutes, and shortly after that a table of four, who had been sat to one side, turned around and said they were taking part too.

The older couple seemed very pleasant, but the lady explained she was a last-minute substitute for their son, and only came along so her husband wasn’t on his own, admitting she didn’t really like beer.  This news delighted me, because it meant my hatred of cheese wasn’t going to be the weirdest announcement of the night; and it delighted Tim, because he was sat next to her (and, sure enough, he drank at least two of her beers before school was out).

The other group of four (two couples) were rather less palatable. Don’t get me wrong, they were friendly enough, but on one side of the table was a man who smugly regurgitated beer facts every few minutes (rather pissing on our host’s parade), and on the other side were the sort of couple I detest – he was in a suit (and I got the impression that wasn’t because he had come straight from work), whereas she was clearly delighted by the sound of her own voice. Plus, they were both well on their way to pissed before we arrived, meaning their confidence and self-importance was magnified ten-fold. In short, they were the sort of people who appear on The Apprentice, which made them the sort of people I could happily take an axe to.

Then, just when I thought our company for the evening couldn’t get any more irritating, we were joined by what appeared to be a hyperactive blonde kangaroo with a nose-stud, who literally bounced up to our table, and announced at a rate of seven-words-per-second that she was ‘Talulah’, our Beer School host for the evening.

At this point, suit boy grinned, pointed at her, and loudly announced ‘Hey guys, this is Talulah!’, which, I suspect, he didn’t mean as a piss-take, but I certainly took it that way (partly for my own amusement, and partly because, if I was to make it through the evening, I needed to find some common ground with this prick).

I swiftly concluded that Talulah was, to be blunt, irritating-as-fuck (and even briefly fantasised about turning my axe from suit-boy’s head, to something a little shorter and blonder); but looking back I was wrong to jump to conclusions. I still maintain that any more than a few hours in her company would drive me insane, but her knowledge of – and enthusiasm for – beer was impressive; and by the end of the night I had to at least applaud the job she had done, not least because it transpired she was meant to finish work at 8pm, but was still tutoring us well after 9.

Anyway, after her initial introduction, and with thoughts of brutal axe-murders thankfully dissipating (honestly, these are just visions, nothing more), Talulah hopped off – again, literally – to get our first beer for sampling.

278648

Once she was out of ear shot, suit-boy turned to the rest of us and, with obvious panic in his voice, asked: ‘Were you guys expecting cheese as well? We only really came for the cheese. We adore cheese.’

I began to visualise the axe again.

download

Everyone around us agreed that, yes, they were also expecting a cheese tasting session as well, which not only placated the far end of the table (it quickly transpired that the other couple of the four were also crazy about cheese, it’s just that we couldn’t hear them over blonde girl), but amused Tim, because he knows I can’t stand the stuff.

I spotted his reaction, and quickly whispered ‘don’t you dare tell them I don’t like cheese, they’ll fucking lynch me’, which only made him laugh more. He asked what I planned to do, and having briefly contemplated faking a lactose intolerance, I decided this would also attract attention (oh, how can you possibly live without cheese?), so in the end I opted for devouring each piece as quickly as possible, before washing it down with beer to avoid it re-appearing in the form of dairy-vomit.

Image result for retching gif

Sure enough, soon after Talulah re-appeared (the only thing stopping her from bouncing this time, was the fact she was carrying a tray of eight beer glasses), she announced that, in case anyone was panicking, she had forgotten to mention the cheese in her introductory spiel.

             “No, we weren’t panicking, Talulah. The cheese is just a bonus!”

Fucking liar.

Anyway, I could give you a description of the beers we sampled, not to mention their accompanying cheeses (quick summary: the soft and creamy ones were like cheesy snot, while the hard crumbly ones were like something you might find in a sock), but that would all be rather boring, so I won’t. What I will say is that we learned a great deal about the brewing process, the different types of hops, how to properly ‘smell’ the aroma, and how each cheese (supposedly) complimented the taste of its beer partner.

Throughout each description, Talulah continued to test my patience by repeatedly using ‘air quotes’ (yes, I realise the irony of using quotes there myself), as well as the word hipster far more than is ever necessary (i.e. more than once a year), but she also captivated us with her knowledge and stories.

Did you know, for example, that in ‘olden times’ (despite being married to a history teacher, placing periods of time throughout history was never my strong point, so I won’t embarrass myself by even hazarding a guess), when a couple got married the entire village would spend weeks beforehand preparing as much mead as they possibly could? Then, once the couple were wed, the idea was that they would spend the next two weeks drinking and, erm, consummating the marriage to hopefully bear children for the village. The idea, I believe, was that drunk people shag more (who knew?). And, since mead is made from honey, that two-week period became known as the honeymoon. See, history is awesome (and, by all accounts, so were the olden times).

Talulah also told us about BrewDog’s various publicity stunts over the years – such as the time they inflated some stuffed cats, attached parachutes, then dropped them from a helicopter over Canary Wharf. The idea was to protest against the ‘fat cat’ breweries, only the parachutes didn’t open, and they ended up injuring people (I had to again nudge Tim, and beg that he didn’t mention my occupation to the group).

By the end of the night, I don’t know whether it was the copious amounts of beer talking (although I have a strong suspicion it was, bearing in mind I hadn’t eaten anything other than cheese, and the last sample was a rather potent 14%), but I had decided the older couple were lovely, suit boy wasn’t all that bad, and Talulah was a Beer Goddess (not necessarily in terms of looks, although she was far from unattractive, but her personality was as infectious as herpes). She even gave us three ‘bonus’ beers for free, as she liked us so much:

53676949_10157105667801350_1175193568621363200_n

Even suit boy’s girlfriend, ‘loud blonde woman’, endeared herself to me, during one of the latter aroma tests, because despite everyone suggesting the usual hints of vanilla and citrus (none of us could actually smell vanilla or citrus, but those had been the answers for the preceding beers so we decided to hedge our bets), she decided to be brutally honest, and claimed that her glass smelt of ‘wet dog’.

This, naturally, made everyone laugh (including herself, and I do hate people who laugh at their own jokes), but it tickled me especially, because sat directly behind her was a couple who had just come in from the pouring rain for shelter, and their soaking wet spaniel was between them under the table.

Cheers – and thanks for reading x

Standard

I’ll Have a P, Please, Blog

Last week, I went to a pub quiz.

Now, much as I love a good pub quiz, I should explain that this particular event was a ‘networking’ quiz, organised by a bunch of lawyers, for a bunch of lawyers. And, if there is one thing guaranteed to suck the fun out of a social occasion, it’s populating it with members of the legal profession (as a solicitor myself, I readily accept that we are generally a humourless bunch, but hope I am one of the exceptions to the rule).

Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about attending a pub quiz, but when you add in the words ‘legal’ and ‘networking’, it does rather spoil my anticipated enjoyment. It would be like inviting me to a football match….. at Old Trafford, or a sexy strip show…. at a retirement home.

medium_2018-12-04-83e20d2d33

Fit

Anyway, I weighed up the pro and cons, and ultimately agreed to attend, because if nothing else it was an excuse for a child-free night out, and the mention of a free bar and buffet was enough to persuade me.

Sadly, due to the fact we arrived at the venue with barely minutes to spare, the ‘free bar’ had been depleted to just a few bottles of Budweiser – which, if I was to rank the beers of the world in order, would feature somewhere near the very bottom – together with some nasty looking white wine (in fairness, it may have been a very nice expensive white wine, as I am by no means a connoisseur, but given the beer choice on offer, I’ll wager it was cheap shit). Still, it was free, so I tried to hide my disappointment and took a bottle of Budweiser while I still could.

Sure enough, as we located our table in the gloomy surroundings and sat down with our teammates for the evening, an announcement was made that the free bar had run dry before the quiz had even started. Awesome.

In the organiser’s defence, clearly some teams had arrived early and, for want of a better phrase, taken the piss (which, bearing in mind they had grabbed armfuls of Budweiser, is literally what they had done), and they did replenish the stocks about half an hour later, but they did so with more Budweiser, so it was a relatively empty gesture. I know this makes me sound ungrateful, but there are far better beers out there for an equivalent or lower cost.

My spirits (oh, how I wished there had been spirits) were raised somewhat, when I realised this was a proper pub quiz, with not only a picture sheet (and a ‘clever’ link between the answers), but rounds on film, sport and music – which allayed my initial fears that, with this being a ‘networking quiz for lawyers’, the organisers might think it fun to include legal questions. And that really would have sapped any remaining joy out of the occasion.

The first round was actually entitled ‘2018’ and, as the name suggests, it was based on the events of last year. It seemed to go relatively well, too, until it came to swapping our answer sheet with the team behind us for marking, when it quickly became apparent that they were, to put it mildly, pedantic fuckwits, who would stop at nothing to win.

For example, the very first question was (paraphrasing) “Which company got Facebook into trouble last year, by stealing everyone’s personal information?” Now, you may or may not know / recall the answer, but the company in question is called Cambridge Analytica, however our team (and I take responsibility here, as I was in charge of writing) mistakenly put Cambridge Analytical.

Now, had I been marking that answer, I would have allowed the slight error to go unnoticed; but unfortunately for us the group behind (who resembled a University Challenge team on a stag do) not only marked our answer as incorrect, but chose to query it in front of everyone.

“Erm, excuse me, but the team behind us have put Cambridge Analytical, so am I right in saying that’s incorrect and we shouldn’t give them a mark?”

trinity-team

Fuck off, Hugo.

He even scoffed when announcing this, and I so desperately wanted to insert a Budweiser bottle into his rectum (big end first) in retaliation.

It’s not that I am necessarily competitive (much), and so long as our team avoided the humiliation of finishing last in the quiz I was happy enough; but I can also be a petty bastard at times, particularly if someone behaves like a cock, so I made a mental note to return the gesture should Tarquin and his chinless colleagues require any discretion with their own answers later in the quiz. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait very long.

Round Two was ‘Film’, and one of the questions was “Which musical is based on a Charles Dickens novel?” Now, the answer to that is Oliver! (and I made a point of adding the exclamation mark on our answer sheet especially, in case Team Trust Fund were going to insist on its inclusion for the full mark), but to my delight when we swapped sheets again, they had put ‘Oliver Twist’.

Oh no, my friend, that’s the book you’re thinking of, whereas the musical is just called Oliver!, so you’ll be receiving a massive cross next to that particular answer, you bell-end. Ha-fucking-ha.

Image result for pleased gif

The best part was, when we swapped sheets back after all the answers had been announced, he actually made a point of checking my marking, and then tapped me on the shoulder.

‘Erm, excuse me,’ he said smugly, ‘but you appear to have marked our answer for question 8 as wrong, when we actually got it right.’

‘Erm, actually,’ I replied, making his smugness seem almost subtle in comparison, ‘I think you’ll find the answer was Oliver! WITH AN EXCLAMATION MARK, not Oliver Twist, which is the Dickens novel. It’s a common misconception…. among idiots.’

‘Well, it’s only one word different.’

‘Indeed, but in the last round you might recall that you marked us down for having one letter wrong, so you can kiss my ass, douchebag.’

Of course, as I have said before, I loathe all forms of confrontation, so what I actually responded with was:

‘Fine, whatever, give yourself an extra point.’

I couldn’t be bothered with the argument, to be honest (although I did mutter douchebag under my breath, which I felt was a moral victory at the time).

The remainder of the quiz was thankfully rather more amicable (thanks in no small part to the fact we swapped the rest of our answer sheets with the team to our right instead, who proved to be rather less competitive – and infinitely less anal – about the whole thing, and even at one point traded some answers with us), although I did briefly lose my shit over a James Bond question which the organisers had clearly got wrong (it’s my specialist subject, and Never Say Never Again is NOT an official Bond film).

Anyway, my fears of finishing last were unfounded, as our team ranked a respectable seventh out of twenty-five; and, even better, the pig molesters behind us didn’t win. It turns out, it doesn’t matter how much Daddy paid for your education, and how pedantic you are in stealing points, if your knowledge is ultimately inferior, chaps.

***

That’s nearly it for this week’s entry, but before I draw matters to a close, I would like to leave you with one final anecdote from that evening.

Due to the fact the beer on offer at the quiz night had been mediocre at best (even once we had abandoned the free Budweiser, the alternative beers at the bar weren’t much better), we decided to dash back to Poynton for last orders at the local Wetherspoons. Fortunately, having raced through the door at 11.02pm, it transpired that they were serving until midnight, so we had plenty of time to fuel our hangovers for the next day.

At one point, shortly before we called it a night, I needed the loo, and if there is one thing I apparently specialise in (other than quiz questions on James Bond), it is dodgy encounters with other men in toilets (wait, I had better rephrase that….).

As I entered the gents (which, after the last sentence, should also perhaps be re-phrased), I noticed two younger men in there standing by the mirror admiring themselves, and upon seeing me one turned to the other and said ‘you should ask him’, motioning in my direction.

Agreeing, the first chap turned to face me, and asked ‘do you think I look fat?’

‘Eh?’

‘Do you think I look fat?’

‘Erm, no?’

‘Oh. Well, that’s not very nice.’

‘What? You want to look fat?’

‘No! I said, ‘do I look fly’?!’

‘Fly?’

‘Yeah. You know, like Pretty Fly for a White Guy?’

‘Oh. Right. In that case, erm, yes?’

Image result for pretty fly for a white guy gif

In truth, he didn’t look very fly at all, he looked like an early-twenties Millennial in skinny-fit jeans, who clearly wasn’t used to drinking lots; but I wanted to appease him to avoid any further toilet confrontation, and because I was in desperate need of a pee by this point (which I was rather keen to do in peace).

It seemed to work, too, because not only did his face immediately break into a wide grin, he exclaimed that we were now friends (awesome, I love making new friends in the gents), and he insisted that we ‘fist bump’ (which I prayed was the cool/lame handshake definition of the phrase, and not some weird sex-thing that Millennials are up to in public toilets these days).

Image result for fist bump gif

Turns out, it was the handshake-type gesture I expected (which was just as awkward, but infinitely less painful, I suspect), and he was thankfully on his way.

***

Thanks for reading x

Standard