Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A fact of life is that

the rich get richer. My landlord doesn't have to struggle to get by. In 2004, the last figure I could find my landlord was struggling along on £70 million.

Well times must be tough. I have just had a letter informing me my rent will go up by £50 a month. That in itself bad enough but what has really wound me up is this paragraph at the conclusion of the letter.

"For all tenancy renewals, there is now and administration fee of £50 made payable to Rich Bastard Estates Management Service, which I trust is acceptable."

No it fucking well is NOT acceptable. For writing one sodding letter - not even troubling to come out and check the property - and not even having to communicate with my bank (it is a standing order so that will be my job), they think it is OK to implement a £50 charge.

Any suggestions as to how I should respond?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Now the pub

mentioned here is not one I have ever been in. No matter how many name changes it has had in various attempts to shake off its dreadful reputation in the town, it will always be the haunt of working girls and drug dealers. As a result it is not a total shock to read in our local paper that the pub has been banned from using its garden due to the porn magazines and condoms being thrown into Debenhams car park next door. Not at all the kind of items the discerning shopper would expect to find in Debenhams car park.

I was however a bit taken aback to read that in addition to the porn and condoms, the regulars at the Boston Clipper are discarding blow up animals too. I suppose there are some who would find this little beauty pretty hard to resist....

but I just hope that doesn't include anyone I know!

Reidski tells me via text

That the dog has caused massive disruption to travel in London today.

What a naughty pooch that dog must be.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Question for the day

OK - I know we had a power cut last night and strange things can happen in the pitch dark, but why is there a dried up chip in my make up bag?

I am a very happy Cobbler this morning btw.We were SO good last night that I suspect the entire side will be drug tested this morning for evidence of performance enhancing medication.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What a rogue!

I do hope this guy is in a strong trade union. Apparently his employers have commenced disciplinary procedures. I think he is going to need a little assistance with that.

It is very difficult

to please teenagers.

I took a friend of my sons to London recently. He had never been before although he nearly went recently. He told me that his parents told him and his sisters they were going to stay in London for a weekend and he was really excited. They drove down on the Friday evening and booked into a hotel. It was then that his mum and dad played their trump card. "Ha ha! You kids thought we were having a weekend in London, but guess what - actually we are all flying out first thing tomomorrow for a fortnight in Florida!!!!"

Heath told me he was gutted.

And I am still laughing about that several weeks later.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Scotland wins prestigious event

When I read this I found myslef feeling delighted for Dr Rory O'Connell and indeed the whole of the Scottish nation. After all, as he says "It is a great coup for Scotland to host the bi-annual symposium on suicide and suicidal behaviour.This is the most prestigious suicide-prevention conference in Europe..."

What ever makes you happy I always say...though it isn't quite like winning the Olympics is it?

What use is sitting alone in your room

when you could go out and see Cabaret in the West End, which somewhat surprisingly starred Julian Clary. He was very good.

It was quite a strange experience watching it. The first half featured lots of sexual decadence, nudity, and smacked bottoms. The Clifford character was very non-descript, but others were strong. It just felt like 'something' was missing - it was quite low key even for numbers like Mein Herr. Then the first half ended with 'Tomorrow Belongs to Me', and as the curtain fell many of us in the audience just sat there with out a clue how to respond. Yes, he sang it very well, but tumultuous applause for a number sang by a Nazi who correctly predicts the immediate future didn't seem quite right as I am sure you can appreciate.

The second half was a lot stronger and the ending was very moving. It even shut up the 'Whoopers' in the audience. It was my first experience of Whoopers in a theatre audience. Gay kiss on stage - "WHOOP!" Topless woman walks cross stage - "WHOOP!" Simulation (I think) of sex doggy style - "WHOOP!" You get the picture. Reidski was ready to kill them by the interval.

The other thing about is was that for our second West End theatre trip in the past two months there were loads of empty seats and we got £55 tickets in great seats for £20. This is obviously a good time to get a bargain theatre ticket, but you can certainly detect that West End theatre is struggling.

Monday, January 21, 2008

New blog

If you haven't yet discovered The Khmer Rouge Strippergram you need to put that right straight away. What genius, if somewhat warped, minds could be behind this I wonder????

Slight mishap for my eldest son last weekend.

He drove over to his mate Sam’s house for the evening. He was stopping over for the night.

It was about 11.00 when Sam’s dad shouted down the stairs to them and asked if D had popped out in his car. “No! He’s right here,” replied Sam. “Shit!” yells Sam’s dad. “Someone has nicked his car!”

My son, Sam and Sam’s mum and dad all ran out the front in the kind of panic that grips you in these situations. D’s car, which had been parked in the driveway was gone.

Sam’s mum grabbed the phone and started calling the police. D grabbed his phone to ring me. Thankfully though he never finished dialling as had I taken the “My car has been nicked” call I would have gone completely mad.

D never finished ringing me because Sam had looked across the road and asked, quite reasonably, what D’s car was doing in the middle of their neighbours front garden? A somewhat immaculate front garden by all accounts.

(Do they not cover use of the hand brake in driving lessons these days?)

Apparently the neighbour concerned is a really grumpy and cantankerous old git and Sam’s parents advised against going to knock on his door and own up. Instead a clandestine operation to rescue the car was launched. Naturally, D’s wheels started spinning and damage was sustained to the old git’s lawn. Sam and his dad gave him a push and he was free. He wisely parked around the corner out of sight of the house with the no longer so immaculate front garden now featuring a rather lopsided topiary squirrel. I would love to go and collect a photo of said lopsided squirrel but from what I hear searchlights and land mines are being placed as I type to deter future vandalism. I think I will steer well clear.....as D did eventually.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

People I don't understand

People who use Sat Nav in their cars.

Why don't they use a map?

But yesterday I have to admit I could have done with one myself.

I went to make a home visit in a dreadful place called Daventry. I set out complete with street map. Stopped on the outskirts of the dreadful place and consulted my street map, only the address I had was not in the street map. Hummm. I rang the woman I was visiting. She told me the name of the estate she lived on and the name of a pub I needed to turn left after. She then gave me the following instructions which I am able to repeat as I wrote them

"The road kind of branches...go left there...kind of zig zag round then there is another road...its about the third one - no wait - must be the fourth - hang on - it's the fifth - I'm sure it's the fifth. Yes, go down there." Me - "Is it on the right or the left? And what is the road called I am looking for?" Her "Right I think. I can't think what it's called.Anyway, go down it and then zig zag again till you see a block of flats. And that's us." Me - "OK. See you in about five minutes."

Half an hour later after a really really annoying period of my life spent driving around a sodding housing estate where no one had ever heard of the road I was looking for a post man rescued me and I found her house. "Hee hee" titters the stupid woman. "I realised after I spoke to you that it is right where the road branches isn't it? and it was the third road after that you needed to go down wasn't it? But don't worry, you're not the first - everyone gets lost tryng to find me. Hee hee."

"I can't imagine why" I said through gritted teeth, my normal good humour having well and truly deserted me.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It has been far too long

since I last went on about Coronation Street, but a remark from Norris tonight (he of quotes like "You only have to put me in a room with a pistachio and I come out in blotches.") should not go unacknowledged.

Speaking to Sally Webster whose husband Kevin is currently residing at her majesty's pleasure: "Prison is a slippery slope. Before you know it there is some man mountain trying to make you his significant other." That made her feel much better I'm sure.

Catch up

(Stuff moved to the other place from here.)

Not in the same league of bizarre was my conversation with an ex-colleague of mine, who is slightly on the eccentric side. She told me she had a weekend away in the Lake District coming up. "Walking?" asks I thereby making the same assumption 99.9999% of the population would make. "No, belly dancing", she replied, being the 0.0001% of the population who would actually be telling the truth and not in fact taking the piss out of the asker of such an obvious question. So in answer to the question, "Who would travel four hours to the most wonderful walking country in England for two days of belly dancing? " "My friend Rose would."

Funniest episode was with my two aunts, one aged 74 and the other 62 who were sitting next to each other at my mum's chatting. The older one, Rene, had been given a mobile phone for Christmas with which she was inordinately pleased. She has taken to leaving messages for my uncle Brian who acts as her taxi driver which always begin with "This is Rene. Rene your sister in law." (In case he wasn't quite sure who Rene was, having only been related to her through marriage for the past 40 plus years.) We all enjoyed these messages which my uncle has been good enough to save. Anyway, Rene had had numbers stored in her phone and whilst sitting next to my aunt announced she was going to just ring her daughter Paula. Much pressing of buttons ensued as she found her address book on the phone. She speed dials and waits. At that exact same moment my other aunt's phone rings. "Hello?" she says. "Hello?" says my auntie Rene. "Rene?" says my auntie who happens to be called Pauline. "Pauline?" says my auntie Rene who simply can not understand why the sister she is sitting next to is answering her daughter Paula's phone.

Ekk - just seen time. Love you and leave you folk as work beckons.

Friday, January 11, 2008

24 months ago today

I had a day off work.

I had arranged a date with a man I had never met before. It was my first ever blind date and I had hardly slept I was so worried it would be a disaster. Naturally I looked like hell that morning.

I caught a train to London. When I arrived at Euston Station at 11.48am precisely, I was met by this Scottish geezer who looked like George Graham and who was holding one of those signs you usually see at airport arrivals and it read 'Just Jane'. I had spent the past several days trying to come up with some superbly witty first words for when I finally met Reidski. In the event of course I was so sodding nervous whatever I came out with was practically unintelligible, and he must have feared he was landed with the Care in the Community Annual Outing to the Big City.

We went to the pub. And then had lunch. Then went to another pub. Then another. Then another. And then I THINK (although it did all become a little cloudy after a few (8) hours of excessive drinking)we went in one last pub before I got the train home.

Anyway, I managed to get him drunk enough to persuade him to see me again.

I think I can honestly say my blind date was quite a success.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I pride myself on my footballing knowledge*.

My comments this season on our young midfield player Bradley Johnson have included:

"Get that useless pile of crap off the pitch."

"I do not understand why that headless chicken has STILL not been dropped!"

"Oh! I didn't realise Johnson was playing." (In the 88th minute as he receives a booking.)

"He thinks he is bloody Stevie Gerrard - well I just think he's a stupid tosser."

Leeds United, and various other sides who were chasing him didn't seem to agree with my assessments..

Good luck to the lad.

I always liked him.

And no, I am still not talking about Millwall's injury time equaliser which entirely ruined my New Year Day.

* Like knowing Dulwich Hamlet has no 'S' after Hamlet (Fatalist!!!)

Monday, January 07, 2008

More on Dublin

So back with Dublin’s fair city.

The most interesting place we visited was Kilmainham Gaol When we got there we found we could not get on a tour of the prison itself and we debated whether or not to just go into the museum they have there, and I am so glad we did. In particular they have a wonderful display about The 1916 Easter Rising.

It was after the Easter Rising of 1916 that the Gaol served its most important role in the history of Ireland when some of the rebels were executed by the British Army. Reaction to the rebellion in Ireland to that point had been mixed, but the execution of Irish people caused uproar –especially that of James Connolly who was so ill he could not stand to be shot, and so was tied to a chair instead.

What was most touching in the whole exhibition were the last letters written by the 15 men who were due to die by firing squad to their loved ones. In particular the letter Joseph Plunkett wrote urging Grace Gifford to come at once to the prison and marry him is so moving. They were married for two hours before he died and Grace was later immortalised in a song named after her.

One slightly awkward moment in that museum. They had mug shots of various past prisoners which gave their name, crime and sentence. I could have done without being the person someone else’s young and sheltered daughter asked what buggery was, having just read that some poor sod got a twelve year stretch for said offence. At least I could tell her mother it was good that she has an enquiring mind.

Apart from that I also went to a fabulous pub, had another great meal just off Temple Bar here and enjoyed a wander around Grafton Street, Merrion Square and St Stephen’s Green

We did not however get to the Guinness Storehouse – we decided with regret it would be a bit much to inflict on the four teenage girls in our group – but hey, there is always next time.

I conclude my tales from the Emerald Isle with a picture of a pretty bridge which was just outside our hotel.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Dublin continued

I see I left a Swift quote at the bottom of my last post. I hadn't actually meant to do that as I had intended to waffle on about Jonathan Swift but ran out of time. I will however leave it as looking back it pretty much sums up the experience of anyone visting this blog!

We went in St Patricks Cathedral which had plenty of information about their former Dean, the very same Mr Swift. Normally I wouldn't be too interested in anything a Dean had to say, but when they make such Modest Proposals as to suggest the Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling children born into poverty as food for rich gentlemen and ladies then even I would be happy to pay attention."A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout." Hard to imagine the present Archbishop of Canterbury coming out with something like that.

Still more to come on the Dublin experience but for now I am off to try something new for me- Astanga yoga. Must have had a rush of blood to the head when I signed up for that, but I will try anything once (except foie gras). Then off to Reidksi's for the evening.

Friday, January 04, 2008


In spite of the best efforts of snotty fellow guests on New Years Eve we had a great time in Dublin.

We got there about lunch time on Sunday and had lunch in a place recommended to me by John of Counago and Spaves and I would in my turn recommend The Elephant and Castle to anyone. It was excellent.

Then we had a wander round Trinity College....

Then we did the open top bus tour with the most hilarious tour guide I have ever heard. As well as pointing out the obvious tourist spots he told us nuggets of info like one about Dublin's Heuston Railway Station. This had 8 platforms and then another was added - Platform 10. "Where" the good folk of Dublin asked "is platform 9?" The station management put out a press release to explain why there was a platform 10, but not a platform 9. They explained to a perplexed public that there was no platform 9 as that would only have confused people. :-) The same guide also told some good jokes and sang 'Molly Malone' to us, thereby earning every cent of his tip.

More later.
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

This was the advert for our break

A value-added 2 nights ‘New Year’ Package – allowing guests to party for longer in true Irish style!
The Clarence’s ‘New Year’ package is available from Sunday 30th December 2007 – Tuesday 1st January 2008 inclusive and is a 2 night minimum stay package.
The package rates include 2 nights accommodation, Full Irish breakfast each morning. Dinner on New Year’s Eve, this includes a welcome glass of champagne on arrival, a 5 course Tasting Menu dinner for two seating at 8.30pm, live music in the Tea Room from 10pm – 12.30am, with continued New Year’s Eve celebrations till 2.30am in the Octagon Bar.

And all this at a hotel owned by real life rock and rollers. And as we all know of course, true rock and rollers don’t just party a little bit – they party HARD man.

So we were, we believed, invited to party in true Irish style which to me and my mates kind of suggested drinking and dancing till the wee small hours. To be on the safe side however my friend who was taking a group of 13 of us away for New Year did have long and detailed conversations with the hotel before making the booking. She made it clear there would be 13 of us. She asked about the party on New Years Eve itself and was assured there would be music and dancing continuing till 2.30am. We would be, she was promised, assured of a really special party night at their hotel.

It all began so promisingly, with cocktails in the bar, and the promised welcome glass of champagne – or four. They can not be accused of being mean with the champagne. Then we went through to the restaurant(pictured here so you can see how big it was) where every table was booked. “Where” my friend asked of the waiters “is the dance floor?” “No worries there” they said. “Last year everyone just moved their tables back and danced.” As to the other guests, there were a few other tables of more than two, but it has to be said that MOST of the other ‘party goers’ were couples.

We had a big table all set out with party hats, crackers, party horn blowers (no rude comments please) and rattles like the old football terrace ones. Now by my reckoning, at least three of these items make a noise. There was no sign asking us not to use the noise creating items and therefore, naively assuming our friend was paying for us all to have a damn good time at the Clarence Hotel party, we commenced a bit of partying. On went the hats, bang went the crackers, and toot, toot, toot, rattle, rattle, rattle went the tooters and rattles. I think it must have been an entire thirty minutes before the first complaint was conveyed to us by the unfortunate staff along the lines of “We do realise you are all enjoying yourselves, but could you possibly do so more quietly?”

This was easier said than done. There were after all, as I believe I may have already mentioned, 13 of us. Some of us had had a not inconsiderable amount of alcohol. And we included 6 teenagers in our party, all of whom were magically drawn to blowing the tooters and rattling the rattles. So the complaints continued to flow in our direction, along with the dirty looks, and the increasingly lengthy discussions with the hotel management. It didn’t make for the most relaxing evening.

Never mind – there was always the live music to enjoy – not. What we had envisaged was a live band playing either traditional Irish stuff to which you can sing along, or the old classics which make you want to get up and dance. What we got was a low enough key to be horizontal, female jazz singer, who persisted in singing songs that no one had heard of, and even if you had heard of them, you couldn’t possibly dance to. Yes, we did make an effort – when the food was done, we moved our table back in the sure and certain expectation that our fellow party goers would do the same……only they didn’t. But anyway, even we, the determined party people, could not manage to shake a hip to the music on offer. So shortly after midnight we decided to go to the bar instead where if you can recall the hotel information – celebrations will be on going till 2.30am. Only the bar was shut. And in spite of (or possibly because of) our protestations, the bar stayed shut.

We went up to a suite four of us were sharing to party in private – and yes, you have correctly guessed, that we again attracted complaints from other guests who were apparently trying to sleep. I am talking 12.30 on New Year’s Eve here.

Now here is the thing. I wasn’t actually very drunk as I can’t do very drunk any more and I do acknowledge that our table was noisy – certainly in comparison with all the other ‘party goers’ we were. But we were not offensive, we were not swearing at top volume, we kept our clothes on, we did not throw a solitary bread roll, we did not set off a single firm alarm, nor throw a T.V. out of any window, and we certainly weren’t puking up all over the place. Our offence appears to be that we were having fun – or at least – we were having a damn good attempt to have fun…

But we attracted nothing but complaints.

At a so called party.

On the biggest party night of the year.

In the Party Capital of Europe.

Actually, we are on reflection pretty proud of ourselves!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It has come to my attention

as I emerge from my alcohol induced haze that it is 2008.

How the fuck did that happen? I'm still adjusting to being in the 21st Century.

Still - at least I know now I really am not completely past it, having been part of a party who got into trouble for partying too hard - in a 'Rock and Roll Hotel'* in The Party Capital Of Europe.

* Well, we thought what with never having been there before and what with it being owned by Bono and The Edge that it might - at a push if one used a great deal of poetic licence - qualify as a Rock and Roll hotel. Although our taxi driver who took us back to the airport described it as 'The most boring hotel in Dublin.' I will get round to explaining why the taxi driver may have had a point in due course.


Happy New Year one and all.