Wednesday, 30 May 2012


I weigh myself every morning. This degree of close monitoring allows me to keep the racing snake physique which you see before you, or thankfully for us both, that you don't see before you. 

This daily act of confession is carried out in absolute secrecy behind locked doors. I weigh myself in my birthday suit - obviously. I mean who knows whether my spectacles might make the considerable psychological difference between Umpteen stone 2 pounds and Umpteen stone 3 pounds. It could ruin my day.

Of course I've tried doing it standing on one leg but I think the wretched contraption has sussed me out and automatically adds on the weight of the dangling leg. You can see why this is a solitary, covert operation.

This being so, I was amused to hear of the new bathroom scales which are connected to wi-fi and automatically send your results online to broadcast to the world how your weight program is doing. 

We Twitterers get enough flak for allegedly tweeting about how much coffee we are drinking all the time. Can you imagine it? 
Tweet: 'Just weighed myself, put on 2 pounds today.'

It doesn't bear thinking about. Anyway, I'm off to get myself a coffee.

Sunday, 27 May 2012


One moment we're the wettest country in Europe and the next we're the hottest, driest and sunniest.

A few weeks ago a drought was proclaimed and a hosepipe ban introduced and that was the signal for days of heavy rain, floods and general misery.

Quite simply, our weather has gone nuts. The good news is that following the mayhem, Summer has arrived. 

I think of it as the sockless season. Suddenly the sock becomes as redundant as the woolly sweater for a while as sandals prevail and long may it continue.

There is nothing quite like sitting in the garden as the temperatures begin to cool in the early evening, a chilled glass of wine in hand and the smell of the neighbours' paraffin barbecue filling the nostrils. 

The English summer. Make the most of it, no doubt there will be blizzards in August the way things are going so far.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


My first grandchild has decided to keep me waiting for a while. No problem. Unlike my dearly beloved I can do patience.

It has been funny to see how the mum-to-be has changed with respect to foodstuffs. I always knew that funny food fads were normal during pregnancy. Mothers-to-be were said to develop strange cravings for combinations like strawberries and bacon. 

Our own soon-to-be mum hasn't gone quite that odd but can't get enough chocolate at the moment. Where the weirdness does appear is in her sudden dislike to the smell of tea. When she enters the room she can tell at once if anyone within has drunk tea recently.

I have discovered that the reason for these changes is that during pregnancy, your senses of taste and smell change dramatically and go completely loopy. It is common to have foods which you normally love but which you can't bear the smell of when they are cooking. 

I wait with interest to see whether my grandchild will share any of these fads.

Sunday, 20 May 2012


I presume that, rather like those films of lion prides devouring their kill, my caveman forebear having dragged a dead animal back to 43 Cavern Mews, would sit around with his family and after saying Grace would begin with " I'll slash and tear dear ". 

No doubt he would then proceed to carve open the poor creature's belly with his Swiss Army flint shard and pass around pieces of gut, heart and other organs, dripping with delicious warm blood saving the best bits such as those tasty eyeballs for himself. 

In time though, he discovered the Aga and suddenly cooking one's meat became all the vogue with raw meat meals relegated to those occasions when fast food was all he had time for.

I'm sure you would agree with me that eating cooked food was progress. For one thing, we'd never have discovered omelettes if it wasn't for cooking, nor would we have the delights of pizza and there would have been no Macdonalds. Come to think of it... No, I'm sure that cooking was progress.

I was reminded of how far we have come from our caveman days when I read a cookery article about fish dishes in the paper with the customary photo of the completed meal. It was served on the plate with not only its tail intact but also with its eyes, slightly dazed admittedly, still looking at the diner with an unvoiced 'How could you?'

I know I'm a bit squeamish but why on Earth would we want to be reminded that we are about to eat a creature? I mean when we have roast lamb, we don't put a little fluffy lamb's tail on the side of the plate do we?

I rest my knife and fork.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


As a writer - there I've said it - there is a constant fear of plagiarism. It's very hard to avoid. 

After all, we are the product of our experiences and how do I know whether my idea for a piece of writing is original or something remembered from a book I read ages ago? Even if I hadn't read it but simply thought about something independently which someone else has already written about (unbeknown to me) it would be said that I had copied it.

In these days of internet this and search engine that there is no hiding place. Here is the proof.

I thought I would come up with something totally original - so silly that no-one could possibly have written about it before. I thought - "Do ducks laugh?" Stupid isn't it? Then I 'Googled' it.

Unbelievably, someone  has written about the ducks in a pond at the bottom of his garden who seem to laugh every morning.

In addition, there are endless videos of ducks actually laughing (apparently). 

I tell you it's tough being a writer.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


She was somebody's daughter, born and raised in the country but later she became a city dweller. 

She never went to school but her parents did a great job of teaching her what she needed to know in order to branch out. She was never jealous of the kids in school in fact she usually looked down on them. 

She knew all the basics necessary for getting by and if there was anything she was unsure of she would just wing it.

In time she found a partner to spend the rest of her short life with. He was a bit of a high flier and she sometimes struggled to keep up with him.

This was to be her undoing as on that fateful day, her partner dashed across the road. She had always trusted his judgement but he was so much quicker than her. 

I was the driver. In truth I was going a bit too fast. All I saw was a blur as her partner rushed across in front of me. I cursed him but was glad that I had managed to avoid hitting him. The last thing I expected was for her to follow but suddenly there she was. 

There was a crunch as she hit the top of the windscreen. I can only hope that she died instantly as her body bounced off the roof of my car to land lifeless on the road. 

I felt a huge pang of guilt. The only comfort I could find was that she was 'only' a pigeon.

thanks to Simon Howden for the image

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I don't wish to be morbid but just how many light bulbs does it take to light me to my grave? Well it seems that the answer is one. 

Three different companies are about to launch a new light bulb which is set to last for more than twenty years which should see me out, judging by the statistics. 

What else would we like to last our lifetime? Well when I last bought my state of the art TV I was told it was 'future-proofed'. So when they brought out 3D versions I went back to the shop to ask for mine to be upgraded. Of course it turned out that 'future-proofed' didn't apply to 3D technology. Funny that. I must be losing my grasp of English.

Anyway, I can't resist a few light bulb jokes so here they are:

Q: How many Waiters does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None, even a burned out bulb can't catch a waiters eye

Q: How many Windows users does it take to change a 
light bulb? 

A: One. But they'll swear that it was JUST 

as easy as it would be for a Mac user. 
Q:  How many divorce lawyers does it take to change
 a lightbulb?

A:  3 - one to argue for the rights of the old lightbulb, one to 
argue for the rights of the new lightbulb, and one to
 argue for the rights of the light socket

Sunday, 6 May 2012


My wife and I have a love/hate relationship with the dishwasher. We're happy with the clean dishes which it produces but we hate the way the dishwasher tells us when it has finished. 

It beeps. Not once. Not twice, but five times. If neither of us do anything about it it repeats the process every minute until we do. 

Unfortunately, one of us once made the mistake of swearing at the machine when turning the beep off. The dishwasher was very upset by this and in order to get its own back, it is now very specific with its beeping. It carefully times the noise to coincide either with the most gripping part of the TV program we're watching or else when it senses that one of us is having a nap. 

What's more, the dishwasher has also called on the services of the washing machine, which is clearly in the same union, to do the same thing. 

We've tried keeping the kitchen door closed but we can still hear the beeps. 

Does anyone know of a good sound-proofing company who might help us?

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


As another first day of the month passes, people are quick to shout out 'White Rabbits' or 'Pinch. punch, first of the month' and I'm guessing that they have no idea why they do it except that everyone just does.

So my curiosity gene kicked in and I can inform you that not surprisingly, saying 'White Rabbits' is  supposed to bring you luck. The superstition is a purely British one and there is a variant in which you say 'rabbit, rabbit, rabbit' three times to achieve the desired effect. Ideally the word 'rabbit' should be spoken up the chimney apparently. What a curious nation we are to be sure.  

As for 'pinch, punch, first of the month' this is another British oddity. The phrase was used to banish witches with a pinch of salt (which weakened the witch) followed by a punch to send her on her way. 

Over time this altered to playfully pinching and punching a friend or relative but it is important to add '...and no returns' or else they may do it back to you!