Sid Owen vs Olly Murs, Discuss.

I worry myself sometimes.  The state of my mental health is a cause for concern.  It is a source of eternal puzzlement where the random thoughts that populate my noggin come from.

Today, whilst packing the shopping into bags at Asda, completely out of nowhere I had an internal discussion with myself about how it was suddenly blindingly obvious that Olly Murs is having Sid Owen’s career, but in reverse order.  I had not heard from or seen either of these minor celebs during the morning, but still this startling realisation came to me from nowhere.

It made perfect sense to me, which is perhaps a greater cause for concern than actually having the thought itself.  Allow me to explain.

Both of these allegedly talented Essex/London types have somehow overcome the hurdles of a total lack of star quality and talent to forge what seem to be quite lucrative careers.  Olly has lucked his way through a TV talent show, only to emerge a year later turning out turgid pseudo reggae pop.  Owen on the other hand must have known someone in casting at Eastenders, and played himself for many years before becoming every impersonators catchphrase when referencing Eastenders.

All together now  “RRRIIIICCCKKKKKEEEEEE!!!”

So what of my theory that they are living out each other’s careers in reverse.  Well this is the thought that came to me.  Sid Owen limped along in Eastenders for too many years before believing his agent’s promises of Number 1 singles and TV specials, which led to him throw away that steady and well paid contract on Stenders, to them move on and release what could well be the most insulting homage to reggae since Boris Gardner.

Don’t believe me?

Murs it seems has started his career with a similar two-fingered salute to the reggae genre, and it can only be a matter of time before the hits dry up, and he meanders through panto in Bognor, to eventually turn up in Eastenders as some long-lost relation of some character I am not aware of.  So you see, careers in reverse!

Made perfect sense to me at the checkout today.  As I said, I worry myself sometimes.  The fact that Sid Owen’s pop “career” is lurking in my subconscious is a reason to visit the doctors all by itself.

Anywho, now I have that off my chest, what have we been up to?

He knows that fringe won't last!!

It has been a busyish old week really.  It has been my nephew’s birthday, and Jack is now 18.  Having watched him dance naked by the Christmas tree some very short years ago, I cannot believe he is now officially an adult.  Mind you at 18, it is surely only a matter of time before he is again dancing naked by a Christmas tree, but this time he won’t be four, and he will be off his tits on tequila!!

Rebecca and George
Rebecca and George (other nephew)

To celebrate, we all went out to the Red Hot World Buffet in Manchester on Saturday afternoon.  I believe this to be a national chain, and I would encourage those unfamiliar with it to give it a go.  What it lacks in quality, it more than compensates for in quantity, and to be fair the quality is fine too.  I ate a lot.  Those four words should avoid me having to describe the endless procession of plates that graced my table.

A veil shall be drawn over the exact events.  Safe to say, I got my money’s worth, mainly as Jack’s Mum & Dad paid, so I guess I got their money’s worth.

So by tea time yesterday we were home, stuffed, and to be honest ready for bed.  Louise, to her credit then went on to decorate the downstairs loo.  By that, I do not mean that she undertook some sort of dirty protest following a buffet overload.  No, she actually was wallpapering and stuff.

All of this bleeding decorating is going on as next weekend we are hosting a special event for Louise’s Mum.  We are having 40 family and friends round to celebrate a landmark birthday.  She will be 80!!

So this has meant that all of those jobs that we have been putting off, like painting the kitchen, and re-papering the downstairs loo after the not so recent garage conversion meant one wall got re-plastered (it’s complicated), have had to be done as we have folks coming round.  We may even have to hoover too!

Having failed to benefit from the so-called extra hour in bed this morning, I used the extra time to put the final finishing touches to the kitchen, and once finished put the decorating stuff back in the shed where it will sit going stiff until we decorate again, and then realise we didn’t clean stuff well enough and have to go buy some more.  I had finished painting, had breakfast, showered and dressed before 9am.  Tragic.  No wonder my mind was playing tricks on me during the BIG SHOP.

I shall leave you with just a small insight into my buffet experience.

Sweets Jesus!

You may be shocked by the contents of that plate.  I know, pathetic right.  This was Louise’s plate, I had twice as much as that!!

Till the next time……

This lack of WDW is clearly affecting my health!

Having had Emily at home all last week due to a nasty bout of tonsillitis, it would seem that the baton of grottiness has now been passed on to me.  I wouldn’t mind being ill so much, if I were able to be off work with it, but in the current circumstances that will not be an option, certainly on Monday anyway.  Is it every company that devotes most of Monday to meetings at which, if you are not there to present, the earth will cease to turn upon its axis?

I also have a new starter turning up tomorrow, so not to be there would be very bad form.  How much better it will be that I drag my sorry carcus into the office, and infect him with my illness so he can have time off later on in his first week!

Oli first walk
Stepping out

Other than lots of work, which means stress, hassle and problems, in the usual seemingly unending stream of nonsense, the only other thing to report this week is that Oli has been out for his first walks.  With Emily too ill, Rebecca and I took him out around the block on Wednesday night, and he did surprisingly well to be honest.  He obviously hasn’t got the rules yet, and does tend to spend most of the time eating his lead or sitting down, but he could be a lot worse.

On subsequent days he has ventured further afield, and discovered that he really doesn’t like cars, and feels compelled to chase every leaf that moves!  I’m sure he’ll get used to everything.  On Saturday Emily and I had him on the local park for the first time, and then Rebecca had him down to my Mum’s.  This eagerness to walk him won’t last with the girls I’m sure, but it is good whilst it lasts.

Rebecca’s willingness to be out with the dog is based on the amount of attention he attracts.  If Oli brings “cute boys” into any sort of conversation with her then he will have served his purpose.  She’d better make the most of it though, as at the rate he is growing, it will soon take all four of us to manage him on the lead, which will cramp her style just a little.

With half term on the horizon, we’ll see how willing they are to have him out when the inevitable lashing rain and icy winds kick in next week.

On Friday evening, Louise and I went out for tea, and the biggest plus to come out of that was that we were then able to spend Saturday night watching the programmes we Sky plussed on Friday night, rather than endure the seven hour marathon that is the X Factor.  Modern Family and An Idiot Abroad are two of our favourite programmes, so not being able to watch them on Friday made for a much more palatable Saturday.  My decreasing health levels, having to pick Emily up after a gig, and not much sleep last night have led to a Sunday of extreme couchiness for me.

Louise has had to do the BIG SHOP, and the ironing, added to a load of decorating yesterday.  Yes, it continues.  It might sound like we have a kitchen and dining room the size of Surrey, but we haven’t.  It is very nearly done now!!

Before I slumped into this life threatening cold, I did manage to splurge some random words out for the WDW Dads site.  Feel free to go have a read if you are so inclined.  It covers one of my favourite subjects, food!!

It does seem that most of the other WDW Dads spend 90% of their daily lives inside one of the parks, which makes me sick in a whole different way!!  Their constant tweetage from these places is both informative and depressing in equal measure.  Jealousy isn’t pretty, but then again I never claimed to be in any way pretty.

So that’s your lot for this week, my illness obviously is affecting my ability for bloggage, and I need to go and feel sorry for myself some more.  It is funny but in dozens of trips now I have never been ill on US soil, and never had so much as a sniffle inside a Disney theme park.  For the sake of my health, and the NHS it is my duty to be there as much and as often as possible.  You know it makes sense.

Till the next time…..


Woah, what a feeling, when I’m rollering the ceiling!!

If you are likely to be bored by updates on the growth of Oli, then this week’s bloggage may not be for you.

I’m taking photos and video to track his growth, as this is something we didn’t have with Henry our last dog. This was because the technology was much clunkier back then in the good old days of 1997, and at the time we had a new-born baby and an eighteen month old. So add a new puppy to that and we barely had time for our nervous breakdowns.

Here is the little (big) chap playing on Saturday afternoon. All the female folk were out clothes shopping. Rebecca needed a new winter coat and Emily yet more jeans. I stayed home with the big fella and watched the footy with him.

I keep telling myself, that it is too early to say what I’m about to, as it will surely bite me on the arse, but he does seem to be house trained now. We have to still make sure we have him outside regularly, but he knows to wait until we do, so as silly as it might be to assume the worst it over, it looks like it might be.

Again, at the risk of premature announciation, he is also very good generally. He’s fairly calm for a puppy, doesn’t mind spending time alone in his crate when he needs to, and generally is pretty chilled. Cue the next week being the one where he destroys the house and undertakes some sort of dirty protest!

Thursday sees him being walkable. I know of course that I’ll be the idiot out with him at 6am every day once the novelty of day three has worn off, but it will make it easier all round.

The decorating of the kitchen has continued this weekend, and my contribution has been to paint the ceiling. I have a sore neck and a desire never to paint again. Louise has worked really hard on the rest, and it needs just the finishing touches now. It looks lots better of course, but nothing will ever justify the living hell of undertaking any decorating whatsoever. What do you mean that may be an over exaggeration??

Poor Emily is ill. She’s got tonsils like space hoppers and a snot filled nose. She is rubbish at being ill though as she struggles to swallow tablets. Anyway, she’s been to the doctors and got some antibiotics. She is gutted though as normally (since she was a toddler) she has had banana flavoured medicine. For some reason this time it is strawberry and tastes, and I quote, “grim”. Yes, she is 16!!

Sunday has seen me finally put the 2011 trip report to bed. It is a relief to be honest. My oft mentioned OCD about stuff being an incomplete state has not made this easy. To return from holiday on the 13th of August, and not complete the trippie until mid October is something of a new record, but hey, I’m busy!!

I do need to thank everyone (again) for the reading of the trip reports and these ramblings. As much as keeping up with stuff is a pain, I do enjoy writing, and would, given any sort of chance, like to have a go at it for a living of course, but I suspect that turtle head jokes and knob gags are slightly less in demand than whatever it is I currently get paid for. Anyway, having folk read what I come out with is welcome, so thank you.

The posting of the last day is often greeted with questions around another trip. Well, as ever, right now, we’re going nowhere, and look unlikely to do so by next summer. However I am long enough in the tooth to know that these things change, so we’ll see.

In the mean time, I have teeth to grit and endless working weeks to endure, which currently mean lovely twelve-hour days, and working some of the weekend too. It’s a good job I love what I do so much isn’t it? I’m knackered and I must look it, as Louise refused to let me do any more of the decorating as I “looked like crap”. Well, every cloud has a silver lining then eh?

Oh look, the X Factor is on now. Must go and throw things at the telly.

Till the next time….

Decorating and Digby the Dulux Dog

I suspect it is often quite easy to get a feel for my state of mind and mood by reading both in between and on the lines of these blog updates.  You could search every word for hidden meanings, and every sentence structure for implied nuances.  This week it is really easy to judge my state because….

I have been decorating!

Those four words tell you all that you need to know.  Now, before you have images of me buried in roll upon roll of wall paper, weeks into endless stripping, priming (I never prime by the way) and sanding, I must confess that I did about two hours worth of painting on Sunday afternoon.

The amount of time spent is not the point.  The fact that decorating is even happening gets to me.  Being a control freak Virgo with hints of OCD, the mere existence of disruption in the house makes me uneasy.  I like to make omelettes without breaking eggs if at all possible, and the kitchen and dining room being “upside down” whilst we give it a lick of paint is enough to drive me to drink!!

Louise has done most of the work, and I probably spent more time putting the room back together than actually painting yesterday, but I felt better once the room was as normal as we can get it.

So that is how the weekend finished.  It started with me going to the pub with a group of teenage girls.  This is not, as it may sound, some mid-life crisis episode.  Instead it was me, Emily, Rebecca and several of their friends going to the Railway Pub to see my brother’s band Mustard!

Emily and Rebecca have never seen them so it was overdue.  However, after feeling bruised battered and beaten following the usual working week, topped off with a Friday to beat them all, I did not feel like going.  Louise declined the outing based on the fact that if she were more than four feet from our toilet things might get unpleasant.  So it was left to me to either tell the puppy eyed daughters that I could not be arsed venturing out into the rain, or to bite the bullet and take them and their mates to the pub.

The evening was good once we were there of course.  Rebecca and her friend danced all the way through the first set, which in a pub which was not yet packed, takes more bottle than I ever possessed at 14, hell, even now to be honest.  Our milkman is quite confident though!

Surviving on nothing but pints of Diet Coke, I coaxed my tired frame through to midnight, and the final “Thank you and Goodnight”.  Louise had been home minding Oli, so she may have had the more tiring time of it.

Oli Growing
Not the best photo I know, but if you watch it long enough you will see him grow!

Speaking of Oli, he grows literally by the hour.  Normally when you see someone or something every day you can’t see a difference, but each morning he seems to have added inches and pounds over night.  Those of a certain age will remember the Digby film?  I’m quite concerned at this stage.

Generally though he’s been very good so far.  I do not want to talk too soon, but we are someway down the path now with the house training stuff.  This success has been built on the premise that he now knows that every evacuation, of any variety earns him a puppy treat.  So he is currently “going” about 27 times a day.  This may of course be fuelling the growth we are seeing, but I don’t care if it keeps the house wee free!

He has recently started “wanting to go out” rather than just deciding to do it where he stands, so this is a breakthrough.  Other than a few times when he has a mental half hour, and anyone in a mile radius of his needle like teeth is at risk, he has been very calm and well-behaved.  He is also fully injected up now, so from a week on Thursday he can go out into the big bad world.  We can’t wait.  The girls, as they want to show him off, and I, as it will get them off their backsides and doing some exercise, and it will burn off some of his energy, which might stop the bugger growing!

When we got Oli, my brother and his family came to see him, and their daughter (the one in the photo last week with Kelly remember) fell in love and asked if they could get a dog.  The expected responses of absolutely not were heard, but some two weeks later, they were as strong as I was in their stance, and they picked up Baxter on Saturday!

He is a cross between a Westie and a Shitzu (I think you spell it like that).  We popped round to see him, and he is indeed as cute as, well, a puppy!!  I’m sure he and Oli will be great friends over the years!

In a glass box of emotion (Anchorman reference!)

On Sunday I edged closer to the completion of the latest trip report too.  It has taken forever I know.  We left for this holiday in late July for goodness sake.  But work, the writing of stuff for WDW Dads and this blog have all eaten up time, as well of course as having a real life to do, and a new puppy, so I have plenty of excuses.

I have one day left to do, and it is usually the hardest as it involves the journey home, and the summing up of the trip.  It is at this point that I always say to myself that this report shall be the last, and the online world may heave a huge sigh of relief as they are saved from the onslaught of turtle head and toilet gags.  I don’t know, we’ll see.  It probably won’t matter all that much as we are more likely to visit the moon next year than Florida.  But as you all know, I’ve said that before…probably about ten times in the past ten years.  Anyway, I am stealing my own thunder for the trippie.

For those still interested, I’ll try to get that posted this week, and then my Virgo OCD side can relax knowing that loop is complete, that loose end snipped off, and one more thing is tidy and complete.  I’ll feel better for that!

Now, just the decorating to get finished….

Till the next time…..

Plants, leaves and 30p wees

I had a bit of a rant this morning.  This I think is a direct reaction to the ridiculous nature of work at the moment.  Each week sort of flashes by in a blink of hectic and chaotic nonsense, filled with insurmountable issues and impossible challenges, mixed with constant reminders of just how unbelievably stupid folk can be.

hard knock
It's a hard knock life....

So the nature of the rant was the level of help given by the girls around the house.  I was not ranting about them doing too much, but I think you guessed that.  I won’t bore you with the details of said rant, but I was shocked to find that it might have worked…a bit….for now.  Rebecca spent the day cleaning.  She hoovered upstairs, tidied and cleaned the bathroom, and not only sorted her room out, but also rearranged all her furniture resulting in a room I do not recognise for all sorts of reasons.

Emily too has helped put the big shop away, hoovered downstairs, and although she doesn’t realise it yet is about to make sandwiches for everyone’s lunch tomorrow!

It isn’t too often that I lay down the law like this, but a mixture of being worked to within an inch of my life, and a realisation that they actually don’t do a great deal around the house led to this line in the sand.  How long it will last who knows, but at the age they are, it is literally the least they can do.

If you have not yet heard it on the national news, our back lawn has been conquered.  Following a solid few hours of sunshine last week, well, a lack of rain anyway, Louise made a start on Friday, helped by our neighbour, and I finished the job yesterday aided by a new strimmer.  This new implement, like most things we seem to buy did not work at first attempt, as a crucial bit was missing, so I had to drag it back to B&Q on Saturday to have one provided from another box on the shelf.  So next week some other poor sod will buy that one, go back the next day with a missing bit, take that bit from another box, and well….you see where I’m going.

We do not so much garden, in our back garden, more go to war on unending and vicious plant life.  The guy who owned our house before us was a Biology teacher, and some of the plant life he had growing just refuses to die.  Every summer for the last nine years, we have battled, chopped, removed, and in some cases burnt all sorts of odd-looking growths, which I’m sure are catnip for them botanists, but for those who just want to look at, and weather permitting sit in their garden, this constant over growing nonsense is just crap!

In other non plant news, I was in London last Tuesday for a pretty pointless but unavoidable meeting, and as impressive as the now only two-hour journey is, I still hate it.  With a meeting late in the afternoon, I chose to save the company some cash and travel off-peak, leaving Manchester at 11.30, and leaving Euston on the return at 7pm…the first off-peak train of the evening.  What a mistake.

The journey down was OK, but the return leg was horrific.  The stampeding crowds hurtling towards the platform as soon as it was revealed on the boards was incredible.  I was half way through my Burger King tea when I was almost trampled Lion King style by sweaty blokes in suits, sweaty students in converse and demonic looking silver foxes, heading North to see India, their horse riding, ballet dancing grandchild.  Ok, I can’t be sure of the last bit I admit.

Final Destination

I took my sweet time walking to the train as I knew I had a seat reserved.  Alas, not in First Class, as that extra £40 would have sent the company into immediate administration, but in standard.  Following an ill-timed call from the boss just before I caught the train, I now had at least two hours work to do on the way home, so I looked on in despair at my seat, and its lack of power for the laptop, and room for both my arse cheeks.  For some reason no-one took up the seat next to me, despite some folk sat on the floor near the loos, and a couple standing.  Perhaps I was one of the sweaty blokes in suits then?

Instead, I balanced the laptop on the envelope sized tray table, completed forty-six minutes of work until my battery gave up and spent all the journey trying to block out the screaming kids in the seats in front of me, who both it seemed had whooping-cough or rickets or some other medieval disease.  By Stoke, I was so uncomfortable that I vowed there and then never to travel like this again.

As I described this journey to my boss the following day, in between telling him why he only had forty-six minutes worth of what he asked for, he did tell me to book first class next time, as the adverts say, because I’m worth it.  This is good news of course, but no reason at all to rush into making any more trips to London until it is absolutely necessary.

All this, plus having two 30p wees at either end of the journey made for not a great Tuesday.  At Manchester this meant finding a cash machine, then buying a drink from a shop, only to find I still didn’t have the right change.  I then had to find a change machine, and break £1 into crappy shrapnel, to then reach the turnstile to find someone had put too much in before me, and I could have had a 10p after all.

Seeing that the loos were just around the corner from the turnstiles, I did consider making my point by seeing if I could hit them from this side of the turnstiles, thus saving 10p.  Maybe in my younger days, but at my age I’m lucky to hit the back of the loo from point-blank range.

This week also saw my Dad return briefly to hospital for a planned stay.  He has something that it seems needs regular draining.  The details of which are not for here I think, but he again got through it OK, and was in fine spirits when I took my Mum to see him on Wednesday evening.  So much so that he was most upset that his request for a Kit Kat had been ignored/forgotten by Mum, so I had to seek out the WRVS shop to prevent it turning nasty.  He seemed quite settled, with his Sudoku book, personal telly and Horlicks being served to him bedside at supper time.  When asked when he’d be coming home by Mum he pointed out that the healing process could not be rushed.  The fact that he would be unable to golf at weekend meant he was in no real rush to be home, and was quite prepared to be waited on for a few more days.

However, I’m sure he was glad to be turfed out on Friday, and is doing fine apart from a little soreness.

Oli’s week has been one where he has certainly grown both in size and confidence.  He is terrorising the cats, and has taken probably two steps back after his one forward on the house training front, but I guess this was always going to happen.  We just need to be patient and consistent I think.  Either that or Louise is going to tie a knot in it!  A threat with which I am familiar.

So another week looms, bearing who knows what delights.  If at any point you’d rather do anything than work, have a wander over to WDW Dads where I added my third article this week.  It is all about a friend of mine who had a birthday.

Till the next time…..