Blog Geldof

“It’s Christmas time, there’s no every need to be afraid.”

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you all had a great Christmas, with much love and laughter.

Before the joyous memories of yet another festive period fade into the utterly bleak shitness that is January, and while fans of my Facebook page might have seen some of what follows already, here are my fifteen festive highlights from Christmas 2019:

1. ‘Northern Christmas Eve’

Like many couples who have young children, every year we face the challenge of dividing our time between visiting my family in Cheshire, and my wife’s family in Norfolk. What we tend to do is alternate ‘Actual Christmas’, so the boys get to spend 25th December with my family one year, then my wife’s family the next.

This year, it was the turn of the latter, which meant we celebrated ‘Northern Christmas’ on Sunday 22nd December (it’s exactly the same as Actual Christmas, only we have roast whippet for dinner instead of turkey*) and, thankfully – despite his hectic schedule – we managed to persuade Father Christmas to do a dummy-run to my mum’s house a few days before the main event.

*joke.

As a result, the boys eagerly placed their sacks in front of the fireplace before going to bed on 21st December, and awoke the next morning to bundles of presents. Well done, FC, you fucking nailed it, mate.

Just look at those little faces.

2. Vomiting Gnomes

Following Northern Christmas, we returned to Sandbach on Monday 23rd December, to spend one night at home before heading to Norwich for Actual Christmas / ‘Norfolk Christmas’ (Norfolk Christmas is exactly the same as Actual Christmas, only with funny accents and incest*).

*another joke.

Prior to our long journey on Christmas Eve (Actual Christmas Eve, not Northern Christmas Eve – stop me if this gets confusing), I decided to treat my car to new tyres (for safety, as the front two were looking particularly battle-worn, a bit like some of my pants) and a wash (because it was covered in shit both inside and out, which is not like some of my pants).

While Kanye was having his well-earned clean (I like to name my cars, and my current motor is ‘Kanye the Kuga’, because he’s big, angry-looking, and has a shiny roof), Isaac decided to put on the ‘Schmebulock’ mask he had received from Father Christmas the day before. For those of you who have never watched Gravity Falls (which, for a kids’ show, is actually very watchable), Schmebulock is a gnome who vomits rainbows. Obvs.

Unfortunately, it seems the delightful Albanian lady who was tasked with cleaning the insides of Kanye’s doors has never seen Gravity Falls (I suspect the humour doesn’t translate well), and when she opened Isaac’s door to be greeted by a goblin puking multi-coloured fabric, it would be safe to say she damn-near shit herself.

Hilariously, however, once she had composed herself, she mistakenly assumed he was dressed as Father Christmas, and very sweetly asked in broken English: ‘Do you have a present for me, Santa?’

To which Isaac rudely growled ‘I am NOT Santa! I am Schmebulock, the rainbow-vomiting gnome!’

In other news, I need to find another car wash from now on.

3. Colour-blind Violence

Continuing with my youngest son, and his penchant for being a bit of a twat (although, so help me, how little material would I have without him?), when returning from the car wash, Ollie suddenly howled in pain, after which the following conversation ensued between us:

“Ow!”

“What’s up, Ol?”

“Isaac punched me!”

“Isaac, why did you punch Ollie?”

“I saw a yellow car!”

“Where?”

“Well, it was yellow-ish.”

“What colour was it?”

“Red.”

4. Ruminant Bathing

When you arrive at the in-laws, and there’s a large, stuffed giraffe in the downstairs bathroom (wearing shades)…

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5. Glitter Warfare

… not to mention a strategically placed Christmas decoration, which is only ever likely to injure (blind) the one person in the family who is over 6’ tall:

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I didn’t take this personally.

6. While Shepherds Groped Their Flocks

At (Actual) Christmas Eve Mass, my wife wanted to get a nice photo of the boys in front of the church nativity scene. Naturally, Ollie tried to smile sweetly, while Isaac gravitated at alarming speed towards the nearest ovine rectum:

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7. Record-breaking ParkRun

On Christmas morning, I braved the cold to take part in a special festive Norwich ParkRun. And, not only did they smash the attendance record for Norwich (over 1,350 runners, compared to last year’s 800-odd), but it was officially recognised as the second-highest attendance at a UK Parkrun ever.

Needless to say, the date/occasion brought out the very weirdest in people (even aside from the fact they were voluntarily running on Christmas morning):

8. Fruit Farming

Isaac is astonishingly naive about where food and drink originates from:

“Mummy, what animal does blackcurrant come from? It is a pig?”

9. Making Your Mind Up

When your Mother-in-Law asks if anyone would like some Bucks Fizz, you make a joke about her whipping her skirt off, but she doesn’t get the Eurovision reference and thinks you’re asking her to get undressed.

10. Ollie’s Good Deed

Nothing funny here, but it was certainly a highlight.

Over Christmas, Ollie accompanied my in-laws onto the cold streets of Norwich to help feed the homeless. He enjoyed making hot drinks and doing something worthwhile, but (as hoped), it really drummed home how unfortunate some people are, how lonely they can be at Christmas, and how lucky he is to have a family and home around him.

We were immensely proud of him.

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11. A Slip Of The Tongue(s)

I suspect my in-laws may not thank me for the following two paragraphs, but they really made me laugh.

Firstly, at one point over Christmas, my mother-in-law (who I love dearly, and I’m not only saying that because she will read this), clearly intended to describe someone as either ‘mardy’, or ‘whingy’, only she got mixed up and called them a ‘minge’.

Meanwhile, I don’t know whether I missed my father-in-law informing everyone that they had been woken in the early hours by four of their six grandchildren wriggling around the bed, but the first I knew was him saying: ‘Honestly, it was like a maggot when I got up this morning.’

Well, we’ve all been there.

12. Isaac’s Further Education

I suspect Isaac ever attending University may well be a pipe dream (and I don’t say that purely on the basis he thinks blackcurrants come from pigs, although it doesn’t help his case), but on a family walk between Christmas and New Year, we happened to pass the University of East Anglia, and he asked me what the funny-shaped building was.

Having explained what a University is, and that this is where Mummy and Daddy met, I asked Isaac what subjects he thought Mummy and Daddy had studied.

“Dunno.”

“What does Daddy do for a job?”

“Lawyer?”

“Right. So, Daddy studied….?”

“Boring stuff.”

“Close enough. And what does Mummy teach?”

“Boys!”

I then asked Isaac what he might study if he went to university, and he looked confused. In an attempt to help him, I queried what his favourite subject is at school.

“Lunch!”

I wouldn’t mind, but he never eats anything.

13. Happy Families

Once my brother-in-law and his family arrived after Actual Christmas, there was a day when all six grandchildren on my wife’s side were together, and they began playing ‘Mums and Dads’ upstairs. Being the two eldest, Ollie and his first girl cousin were Dad and Mum (Isaac later informed me that Ollie was called ‘Bob’ for some reason), and the others took varying roles for the rest of the family.

Naturally, not being one to conform to usual stereotypes, Isaac decided he did not want to play a child, and instead dressed as the family dog:

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After a while, ‘Dad’ was reading a bedtime story to their daughter (Grandchild #5), and proudly exclaimed she had ‘gone to sleep’, which panicked me as I was nearby and was under the impression a mid-afternoon nap might, for want of a better phrase, ‘fuck with bedtime’, so I asked Ollie to check his cousin hadn’t actually nodded off. Isaac then took it upon himself to explain:

“No, Daddy, it’s just a game! Ollie is the Dad, then there’s Mum, the children and their pet dog!”

Then, as if I needed clarification – bearing in mind his outfit – he leaned toward me and whispered: “I’m the dog.”

14. Life’s a Beach

On New Year’s Eve, we had a family outing to the beach.

On arrival, Ollie sat himself down in the cold sand to write some emo prose about the crashing waves, while Isaac busied himself ensuring not an inch of his body remained sand-free by the end of the day.

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Eventually, the boys did play together and, along with one of their cousins, built an impressive sand fortress – complete with moat.

Of course, having spent an hour or so playing ‘normally’, Isaac then decided to create a separate ‘seaweed castle’ by himself.

And, when Ollie suggested they could use that seaweed in the moat, because ‘it will look like water’, Isaac – in typical fashion – responded with: ‘no, it’ll look like seaweed’.

15. Addressing the Elephant in the Room Photo

Finally, to end the day (and, indeed, the year), we took the children to a nearby park, where my sister-in-law noticed Isaac and his cousin playing beautifully together on the see-saw. However, when she tried to take a photo of the moment, I ruined it by getting myself stuck in a springy-elephant in the background.

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***

Well that was Christmas 2019 in the Middle-Raged Dad household.

Thanks for reading x

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Blog On The Beach

The more observant among you, will have noticed that there was no entry last week (at least, I hope you did) and this was because we were on holiday – firstly in Norwich visiting my in-laws, and then, last weekend, we went to Peppa Pig World near Southampton. A place of strange people, weird smells and unusual noises… and then we went to Peppa Pig World (joke – I happen to like Norwich very much).

You might think, bearing in mind my newly discovered fondness for Peppa Pig (the show, rather than the irritating little pork-scratching herself), this entry would be about our experiences last weekend. For example, I could write about how I became a bit star-struck when I met my hero, Daddy Pig:

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Or I could explain about Isaac (whose tiny little mind was well and truly blown when we arrived), and the fact that he was too shy to go near any of his idols, except for Zoe Zebra (who he cautiously high-fived, and then spent the rest of the day grinning and staring at his hand, as if he would never wash it again):

Honestly, he hasn’t stopped talking about her since, and I suspect this is his first crush. I haven’t the heart to tell him ‘Zoe’ was probably a desperate-for-work student, who cries themselves to sleep every night at the thought of going back to work the next day (I am certain I heard Suzy Sheep mutter ‘fuck my life’ at one point under her oversized costume, but in fairness that’s just typical of Suzy – so maybe it was part of the character).

Anyway, rather than write about Peppa Pig again (a subject which has been done to death on the parenting blogs of late), I wanted to tell you about another of my pet hates.

You see, while we were in Norwich, we spent a gloriously sunny day at my in-law’s beach house in Bacton (a coastal village about an hour North-East of Norwich). The beach house is lovely, but – for me at least – it has one fundamental feature which I would rather avoid: it’s by the beach. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I am well aware that a beach house is rather redundant if it is not at least in walking distance of the coast (and it would surely be called something else anyway), but I could live with that.

And it’s not just British beaches either. True, they have the added disadvantage of suffering largely shit weather for most of the year, when compared to their European counterparts, but I do not discriminate – I hate all beaches. Not to the extent that I will run screaming if I encounter one, and I can willingly suffer them for the kids, but I would far rather stay in sight of the sea (perhaps drinking a cold beer sat outside a beachside bar), than actually on the beach.

There will be people reading this who love going to the beach, and who will no doubt question my sanity, but I will give you eight perfectly good reasons why beaches are crap, and it would not upset me to never go on one again:

1. Sand

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Yes, I know this is an obvious one, but I hate sand with a passion. No matter how cautiously you position yourself on the beach, it will find a way to enter your every crevice, and it will remain there regardless of how thorough your washing regime may be, for many a week to come. Worst still, on a windy day (which, let’s face it, were accustomed to in the UK), it will get in your eyes, up your nose and will whip your face until it is raw.

And then you have those people (I like to refer to them as ‘idiots’), who will take a picnic onto the beach, fully aware that they will consume more sand than anything else they have brought. Since when was grit a condiment? No one in their right mind would go into a restaurant and, having declined the offer of black pepper, beckon the waiter over to ask if the establishment perhaps has some lovely sand that could be liberally sprinkled over their lasagne.

2. The Sea

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Another blindingly obvious one but, as has tragically become all too apparent in the news of late, the sea is really, really dangerous. Fortunately, our boys are too young to be venturing into the sea unaccompanied, but there are many families who will watch their offspring from a distance, as they wade out into the ocean, and it only takes a few seconds for the situation to get very serious.

I don’t like swimming full stop, as it happens, but swimming in the sea scares the bejeezus out of me.

Then, on top of the perils of large waves and rip currents, the ocean has the added hazard of having some really mean fuckers swimming around in it. No, I don’t mean pensioners, I mean the kind of sea life which, given half a chance, will do its level best to injure or even kill you. True, we don’t have many sharks in our waters, and those we do have are supposedly quite harmless, but we most certainly have jellyfish, crabs and the like. They serve no purpose other than to inflict pain and misery. They are the wasps of the sea.

Also, even if we leave aside the dangerous elements of the ocean, who in their right mind would want to swim in it anyway? It’s very cold (even abroad) and it’s incredibly salty.

If I wanted something cold and salty that could possibly kill me, I’d go to Little Chef.

3. Seaweed

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Ah, seaweed. The cobwebs of the ocean. I am sure that seaweed serves some kind of biological purpose, but for the life of me I can’t imagine what it might be, and the very fact there are around 450 kinds of the damn stuff (all with their own stupid latin names), leaves me with nothing but contempt for it.

4. Sharp things

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Mother Nature has determined that, if the sea and sand were not unpleasant enough, there should be the added ‘bonus’ of various sharp implements – particularly stones and pieces of shell – dotted around for you to impale your feet on.

Added to that, mankind has come along and, via the very worst of our society, littered the beaches with the likes of broken bottles and needles. Ok, this is more common in Blackpool than the Costa del Sol, but we have to share some of the responsibility for making beaches so damn hazardous.

5. Seagulls

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Evil winged bastards.

Evolution gave us the rat, which is horrible, ugly, and carries all manner of nasty diseases. Then, we have pigeons, which are essentially rats that can fly.

But trumping both of those, ladies and gentleman, there is the seagull. Which is an angry pigeon hell-bent on attacking you. So, in other words, a very large, vicious, kamikaze rat of the sky. They will attack you and steal your food without any sense of remorse, and I had enough of that shit at school, thank you very much.

6. Building Sandcastles

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The favourite past-time of a child on the beach (that, and burying their sibling or parent up to their ears). Except, sandcastles are largely rubbish, rarely work as they are supposed to, and require countless trips to the sea to make the dry sand sufficiently wet enough to build with. Which leads me to my next issue…..

7. Getting Clean

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My main gripe with going to the beach is trying to get clean afterwards.

Sea Water + Sun Cream + Sand = Impenetrable Cement.

It will not come off. Your feet, in particular, will become encrusted with the kind of material they should probably construct aircraft black boxes from, or the nose cone of a space shuttle, because nothing will break it down.

8. Beach bodies

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National statistics dictate that only 1% of the British population has a body worthy of showing off at the beach (probably). Don’t get me wrong, I admire anyone who is comfortable in their own skin, we all should be, but there are certain people who, frankly, are enough of a sight to put me off my gritty ham sandwich.

But so long as they are happy, then fair play to them, and I will simply avert my eyes and settle my stomach.

The people I cannot abide, however, are the 1% who do have good bodies, and who make me feel tremendously inferior/inadequate/in danger of being rolled back towards the surf.

Ok, you eat well and you work out. Probably a lot. Well done you. But if you could see your way to donning a costume slightly wider than a piece of string, I’d appreciate it.

With the greatest respect to the civil parish of Bacton, the beautiful people tend to favour the beaches of Europe, not Norfolk, and some of the sights I witnessed on our recent day trip were frankly upsetting.

One last thing: What do you think to this week’s title? I was considering ‘BlogWatch’, but felt that was a bit misleading, and you might assume it was about crime rather than a lame reference to the ’90s David Hasselhoff show. I then settled on ‘Sex On The Blog’, and nearly went with it too, but worried that my mum might think I’d decided to branch out into some weekly erotic fiction, so I changed it at the last minute. I await your feedback (and any private requests for erotic fiction).

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