My Blogcentennial

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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)

 

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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

 

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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)

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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)

 

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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

 

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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

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‘Twas The Blog Before Christmas (2018)

‘Twas the Blog before Christmas, two thousand eighteen

Another year writing things rude and obscene

So, as is tradition, here’s my year in review

Twelve months of bollocks for you to sift through

 

JANUARY

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‘The Twelve Blogs of Christmas’ kick started our year

My talents with Photoshop instantly clear

To all, that is, apart from my wife

Who said ‘Eight Maids a Milking’ will haunt her for life

Then in ‘Bloggy Useless’ I expressed some concern

At trying to fill out my tax return

Just logging-in requires a degree

So my password is now ‘fuckyou123’

While in ‘Goldiblogs and the Three Bears’

I wrote about Isaac and his lovely long hair

How Daddy bear put up with all of his shite

Because he insisted that everything must be ‘just right’

To round off the month, my first 10k run

In wintry conditions would not have been fun

But the organisers decided that it would be smart

To cancel the run with us stood at the start

 

FEBRUARY

In February my training suffered a blip

When I started to notice a crunch in my hip

And since it persisted, despite a long bath

A friend recommended his osteopath

The problem, however, is for most of my life

I’ve enjoyed innuendo and here it was rife

But the lady who treated me sighed and just smiled

When she said I was stiff and I laughed like a child

In the next instalment I thought I’d endeavour

To watch a Superbowl for the first time ever

Despite being late, I gave it a go

And tried to at least see the half-time show

But I got quite confused and fell asleep for a bit

(at least Janet Jackson didn’t pop out a tit)

Which leads us nicely to ‘Airblogs as Standard’

Where Fords of Winsford were borderline slandered

For once again lying ‘bout my car’s valuation

I hope their engineer suffers castration

 

MARCH

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We drove down to Norwich for our half-term break

Met a kid called Starsky (I mean, for fuck’s sake)

Ollie was poorly, lay on the settee

While Isaac turned Dutch when his bum was ‘schwetty’

My 10k challenge then got off the mark

When I ran in the cold around Oulton Park

And in ‘Best of Bloggish’, a long list was written

As some experts determined the finest in Britain

Their own A-Z for a new coin collection

(although I’m not sure why oak trees gave them such an erection)

In ‘The Fresh Prince of Blog-Air’ I mused about how

Events in my life got me where I am now

I went off to Uni, met my perfect match

And we both settled down to a life in Sandbach

The month then concluded on a grueling Sunday

As I ran around Poynton for my second 10k

 

APRIL

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As we moved into April, a fairy appeared

Isaac’s dummies were gathered and then they were cleared

But if you stare very closely, you might just agree

That the Dummy Fairy looks a little like me

I then did more running, when I went to Whitchurch

But as I got to the line, with a stumble and lurch

I collapsed on the ground, was dragged ‘cross the line

They didn’t believe me when I said I was fine

In truth, for a while, everything had gone black

And they started talking about heart attacks

So, in the end, I had to agree

To go via ambulance to A&E

A day spent in Telford, then Leighton (near Crewe)

Where, throughout the night, I gave my review

Of my elderly roommates, all wizened and curled

Each of them poorly, not long for this world

I met George and Freddie, Joseph and Roy

Not to mention old Robert, bereft of all joy

I became ‘squadron leader’; I led the fight

Determined my ‘boys’ would get through the night

Each one of them made it, and I’ll say it again

It was truly an honour to spend time with these men

Then something lighter, as I published my verses

About Princess Kate, surrounded by nurses

Swearing her way through delivering a child

A third royal baby – the press had gone wild

But as she lay there, all painful and tender

Did she threaten to put William’s dick in a blender?

 

MAY

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More car trouble in May, as I suffered a crash

When a prick in a van got too close and then smash

My wing mirror destroyed, and to rub in some salt

The lobotomised gibbon now holds me at fault

My insurers were crap, took an age with my car

Were about as supportive as a wet paper bra

The Tatton 10k was next on my list

But I ran far too slowly, my target was missed

Then ‘Some Like it Blog’ explained with some wit

The ten simple reasons why summer is shit

Sunglasses and hayfever among my picks

(plus don’t forget wasps, the vile little pricks)

And if that was depressing, I bid May goodbye

With a cheerful poem about how I might die

The message was clear though – make the most of each day

Because none of us know when we’re going away

 

JUNE

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In ‘Blogs and Girls’ I discussed Isaac’s hair

How he plays with his dolls and has dresses he’ll wear

But why shouldn’t boys like princesses in pink?

I’m pleased he ignores what some people think

Then, as a test, I gave Love Island a try

But felt my brain cells wither and die

Just one episode in I had to give up

And turned my attention to this summer’s world cup

Gave my own unique run down for each of the teams

Heading to Russia with their own hopes and dreams

Next, Colshaw Hall, a 10k to complete

But despite an injury to one of my feet,

A cobbled path and one hell of a climb

I completed the course in respectable time

Lastly, I tried my best to be nice

By offering Mark Zuckerberg some advice

On how Facebook might be improved

(he hasn’t replied, so I assume that he’s moved)

 

JULY

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First up in July, another 10k

In Alderley Edge, on the year’s hottest day

I crossed the line sweating, but I didn’t care

As I’d beaten my target with seconds to spare

The following week, I tried to cheer up

As England crashed out of another World Cup

Then ending the month, I wrote ‘Mr Blog’

Describing my clients in coarse dialogue

Some of them rude, most of them needy

I’m compared them to Messrs Nosey and Greedy

 

AUGUST

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July was cut short, as we went away

So I gave an account of our holiday

Each day of our trip, a witty postcard

On visits to Evesham, and the home of the Bard

Then travels once more as we had to contend

With a ferry to Ireland to see an old friend

A busy four days with no time to rest

I took photos of girls like a rampant sex pest

I thought it was nice to offer a pic

But their mum was behind me and I looked a dick

In ‘Vocablogary’ I thought it a gas

To mispronounced words, like Fadge-It-Ass

Or Modge-Itt-Oh and Jal-App-Ah-Noss

(try it yourself and watch people get cross)

Then, yet again, I ran through the pain

Completing the Birchwood 10k in the rain

Struggled back home to a nice warm tipple

And soothing cream to nurse my sore nipple

 

SEPTEMBER

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A busy September, with an entry that you’ll

No doubt remember, as Isaac starts school

It turns out that entry was read by some staff

But they all seemed to like it and it gave them a laugh

Then to our eldest, and I was delighted

To have Ollie sign up for Sandbach United

Just a shame their away strip is like Burnley’s kit

It’s hard to support him in colours that shit

Then back to running, no time for a rest

But the Sandbach 10k was a personal best

(if we discount Whitchurch, but I think that’s fine

as I was technically carried across the line)

Some father-son camping, on Ollie’s school field

But my brand-new tent was not much of a shield

To the rain which came down, and the strong winds that blew

I chose to get pissed, while sat piss-wet through

Then trying to sleep, a crash by our tent

As some dickhead went flying and my tent peg got bent

Not to mention our ‘porch’ getting covered in beer

I’m not sure we’ll bother if they run it next year.

 

OCTOBER

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Another short month, and it starts with an app

For mobile banking, which was frankly crap

It turns out Barclays are useless at tech

(all I wanted was to pay in a cheque)

Followed by ‘Don’t Let The Bed Blogs Bite’

Where a moth terrorised me all through the night

Hairy and black, this thing was obscene

It was the largest moth the world’s ever seen

Then moving on from a massive insect

While staying with terror, ‘The Blog Witch Project’

Outlined why Halloween is so very shit

Delinquent children and grown-up outfits

Terrible tricks, and even worse treats

Pumpkin carving and cheap crappy sweets

 

NOVEMBER

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A healthy month next, where I watched what I ate

And MyFitnessPal helped me lose weight

Not to mention more running, my final two runs

Cheered on by my wife and both of my sons

First Arley Hall and later Wilmslow

All in the name of raising some dough

A fantastic amount, my challenge was done

(and until next year, no need to run)

Healthier eating, and cutting back beers

I could see my penis for the first time in years

Then, for a change, I spoke to the youth

Wrote about bullying and told them the truth

Whether you’re black or white; straight, bi or gay

We’re all amazing in our own unique way

Just look at me, I’m gangly with specs

But I’m married with kids, which proves I’ve had sex

 

DECEMBER

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To end the year, we looked at Christmas

Mariah Carey and brussel sprout gas

All of the things that are suddenly fine

Including eggnog, and fucking hot wine

Then this time last week, we’d packed up our bags

Spent a night at the theatre, surrounded by slags

The women behind us were slaughtered and rough

One had her legs spread, to cool down her chuff.

 

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And that, dear reader, brings us to date

Twelve months of rants, the things that I hate

Forty-six entries, another year done

Thank you for reading, I hope we had fun

 

But don’t get upset, and don’t shed a tear

I’ll be back with more bollocks early next year

May your glasses be full, may your Christmas be white

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

 

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One Man and His Blog

Ok, here’s the thing. The lowdown. The skinny, if you will. Until last week, this was going to be my last blog entry.

There were a number of reasons behind my decision to stop (even if only for an extended break, or a possible re-brand in the future), but – for now at least – I have been persuaded to reconsider.

The main reason for calling it a day, was that the blog hasn’t really taken off as I had hoped. I know I said at the outset, way back in entry #1 (‘Blog Off’), that I didn’t care if no one read my ramblings, as I was doing this purely for my own therapeutic enjoyment – but, well, that isn’t wholly accurate anymore.

I’m certainly not egotistical or arrogant enough to expect wider recognition – in fact, I am my own worst critic when it comes to what I write, so I’m always surprised when people say they have enjoyed a particular entry, or found my anecdotes funny.

I am also very grateful to the loyal band of readers I have amassed over the past two years, who have stuck with me through the dark days of the top ten music and film lists (not to mention when I had that minor breakdown, telling you all about my imaginary ‘commute friends’).

But, since I first started blogging, as a fresh faced 34-year-old, things have changed a bit.

A few months ago, I noticed that my audience figures seemed to have more or less plateaued, and my growing concern was that it might be only a matter of time before tedium set in – for both of us.

I still love writing, but with each passing week towards the end of 2016, I couldn’t shake the niggling fear that people would start to grow weary of reading what I wrote, and numbers would gradually tail away to just my family and close friends (who would only continue to read out of a sense of obligation or, worse, pity). I didn’t want it to end like that. After all, as Neil Young famously sang, ‘it’s better to burn out, than to fade away.’

All great things seem to end prematurely, and whilst I don’t wish to draw comparisons to the likes of Fawlty Towers, those limited-edition all-chocolate Jaffa Cakes (c.1998), or my love-making, I grew used to the idea of stopping the blog suddenly, perhaps even dramatically. I even had a really good (ok, average) title ready.

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So, with the creeping realisation that I would be better off suddenly ending my blog (rather than posting less and less frequently until, eventually, no one noticed I had stopped), it dawned on me that I had completed over ninety entries as we neared December. Whilst I could never get to 100 by the end of the year (unless I posted more than one a week, and that wasn’t happening), blog #100 struck me as being a fitting milestone to call it a day. And here it is. Happy Blogtenary to me.

I do, after all, suffer with CDO (the same as OCD, but in alphabetical order), and if I cannot leave a petrol pump until my fuel is at a nice round number, there’s not a cat in hell’s chance I could end my blog at entry #97. Or #102. To be honest, I feel physically sick at the thought.

In fact, even if I suddenly had something amazing I wanted to share with my readers, I would much rather have stopped at entry #100, and left that story forever untold, than have carried on for a couple more weeks. I’d then be committed to reaching entry #200, or at the very least #150, before I could lower the curtains on my blogging career.

The truth is, I would love this blog to suddenly take off. I am acutely aware that only a minuscule proportion of online writers find fame and fortune, and I have already explained that I do not possess either the arrogance, nor the confidence, to think that I could be one of them, but people still enter the lottery each week, right? If there was even a glimmer of hope that one of my entries would go viral, or would become noticed by someone who could make things happen for me, then the dream was still alive.

If I could write this kind of shit for a living, I would be a very happy man indeed, and would quit the legal profession in a heartbeat. I don’t enjoy what I currently do for a living, I get no gratification from it, and my clients don’t seem to appreciate the pressure I put myself under, every day, for their benefit. It’s a thankless, ungrateful profession, and if it didn’t pay the bills, I would have moved on to something else many years ago.

In contrast, each and every time someone tells me they have enjoyed one of my entries, and that they found it funny, I get a warm glow inside. Imagine getting that glow on a wider scale, regularly, and making a living out of it. Whenever I see a stand-up comedian get a whole room of people laughing, I always wonder how incredible that must feel – presumably like a concentrated form of the joy I experience every once in a while. I can see how that would be incredibly addictive.

When it became clear that I had perhaps achieved my maximum audience, I wasn’t too disheartened, as the numbers were healthy (or so I thought), and I could still cling on to the dream that each view may perhaps lead to a couple more via social media, and it would only take one particular entry to get shared a few times, then a few times more, and things might suddenly take off.

After all, some of the crap that goes viral on Facebook or Twitter, really does beggar belief, so that little paranoid part of my brain – the one which dominates and bullies my confidence – would pipe up with a timely ‘less than fifty people read your last entry, yet 47 million have watched this video of a cat getting scared by its own reflection – you must be properly shit at this’.

I know something visual is always more likely to go viral, because your average Facebooker or Twittererer is, generally speaking, lazy (not you though, obviously, you’re lovely), and is far more likely to click on a video which has been viewed millions of times – regardless of how little interest they actually have in it – than read through 1,500 words written by someone they know nothing about, and won’t ever meet. That’s why I’m so grateful to you. You’re still reading this, and it’s not even funny this week. God bless you, and all who sail in you.

But, as I say, the numbers seemed to be ticking over, so I was relatively content. It was becoming increasingly unlikely I would ever carve a career out of online writing, but I had enough of an audience to scratch that itch. Or so I thought. Turns out, I can’t know for certain precisely how many people read my blog, because the numbers on Facebook just determine how many people have viewed the link, but it doesn’t tell me how many actually clicked on it, then read the entry.

WordPress (my host site) is slightly more reliable when it comes to viewing figures, as it only registers those who have clicked to get this far, but it doesn’t include those who have been good enough to ‘follow’ my blog, and can therefore read via the copy which is e-mailed to them each week. In truth, the statistics are only as reliable as a football match attendance, where half of the turnstiles aren’t keeping count properly. Bit like Edgeley Park, then.

Let me give you an example. Of my last ten entries, apparently #94 (‘Blogminton’) reached just shy of 500 people on Facebook. Grand, I’ll take that. Yet, when I look at the statistics on WordPress for the same entry, it was apparently only read by 46 of you.

I only realised this discrepancy towards the end of last year, which was when I decided to perhaps call it a day, since my popularity was apparently far less than I thought, and I didn’t want to become a burden to those of you who were still reading – perhaps only out of a desire to keep me happy. I didn’t ever want this blog to become a chore – for either of us.

But, as I discussed my intentions with my wife and a few close friends, they gradually persuaded me to carry on. I don’t know for how long, and I will almost certainly be taking more breaks this year (so the entries may not be every week), but I’ll stick with it for now, and that means I’ll have to at least try to get to #150, before calling it a day. Essentially, I’ll be around for a while yet.

I just hope that my family, friends, and especially our children, continue to be a source of comedic material, so I have something to write about. Otherwise, get ready for my top ten countdown of the best rock ballads of all time (spoiler alert: Toto’s ‘Africa’ will probably win).

I wouldn’t worry too much about that happening, though, as these two little reprobates are bound to do something hilarious soon:

Same time next week then, yeah?

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