The longest break between food has been whilst writing this….

I appear to have blinked and missed Christmas.  I know I am of an age now, but wow, it flashed by in a blur of calories and crap telly.  All of a sudden it is Wednesday, my holiday is half over (or only half gone depending on your outlook on life I suppose) and I am well into my second stone of weight gain.

As brief as it seemed it was very enjoyable, with Christmas Eve Eve spent with a takeaway, my annual Baileys and the new Peter Kay DVD.  He is still one of the few comedians who can make me laugh out loud.  Being more or less exactly the same age, and from the same town some of his references to his childhood etc do strike very close to home.  We did have a very similar childhood!

From that point on, I have never let my belly get any less than half full.

If we thought for one second that now we have very grown up teenagers that the excitement levels would diminish in the run up, we were very wrong.  Rebecca was excited enough for the two of them in the days preceding the big day, and having asked what time she was allowed to get up on Christmas morning, she arrived at our door at exactly 7.00am!  Emily was behind her, doing her level best to cope with the early hour whilst remaining something close to festive.  As usual no-one is allowed in the front room until Dad has been in to “make sure he’s been”, and to switch on the lights.

So, what was months of build up, present planning and buying, came to fruition in thirty second  frenzy of wrapping paper, especially from Rebecca’s side of the room.

Rebecca's presents
All present and correct

She is a full blown force of nature when it comes to opening presents.  Emily is much more measured.  Whether they have been aged fourteen and sixteen or four and six, this has always been the case.

Emily's presents
Ooh my piles!

One thing that has changed is that these piles are getting smaller.  These days they tend to contain fewer more expensive presents, whereas a decade ago, they literally had half of the room each filled with endless dolls and tat that I would then spend all day un-packaging.

This year, the main gifts were an iPhone 4S for Rebecca and a new “proper” camera for Emily, a Nikon D3000.  As ever, the look of proper shock and surprise from both upon opening these was worth the expense.  Yep, Louise and I are a collective soft touch.

We also had a new family member to buy for!

Once he’d got bored with that present, he looked around for entertainment elsewhere.

The day then went like this.

Breakfast was with my Mum and Dad, where once again I bedazzled everyone with the Benediction of some eggs.  They left us around lunch time, to enable us to either start making “the dinner” or sit and watch telly drinking a gin and tonic.  I shall let you draw your own conclusions as to which option I went for.

Louise’s mum joined us mid afternoon, and with a few minutes to go, I ventured into the kitchen to do manly things like carve some meat, and pick the best seat at the table.  The meal itself was a delight, and from our cocktail of prawns (a Grandma tradition), through the traditional turkey fest and onto the unneccessary yet obligatory dessert, I showed great stamina to keep going to the very end, however I fell at the final hurdle made of cheese and crackers.

The evening consisted of a walk of the dog, and a bum on the couch.  I endured as much of Downtown as I could, before making a run for the hills (bed) when I realised it was a two-hour “spectacular”.  There are only so many stiff uppers I can stomach in one go.  So I read my book (a present from Louise) for a while before placing my stomach on the mattress next to me and drifting off to a dream about leftovers.

Muddy Oli
His head was the clean bit....

On Boxing Day, we didn’t do much to be honest, other than take Oli out for a bracing and lengthy walk around a local reservoir.  He got a bit muddy.

So after an hour’s walk, there then followed a bath of around the same length.  From that point on, we’ve pretty much not done a great deal.  Louise did somehow manage to persuade me to go into town yesterday, as she had some vouchers to spend with a 24 hour expiry period (apparently).  We survived, albeit with a very close call on me spending a silly amount of money on a new coat.  It was on the wrong rack, and so the price I thought I’d be paying was almost double that amount when I got to the till.  I declined, almost politely.

Today, alas Louise was back in work (ah the perils of serving the public) so I spent the morning doing a couple of errands, and some washing (yes, I am THAT considerate), before settling in for a lengthy session my newly acquired Modern Warfare 3.  A Christmas tradition for me.

So here I sit, surrounded by sweets of all kinds, having just polished off some cheese and biscuits that I clearly didn’t need, after necking a large tea only a couple of hours before.  Somebody stop me!!!

So I have to go now to plan my outfit for the New Year’s Eve extravaganza celebration which will involve a helicopter arrival at some star-studded do, rubbing shoulders with celebs whilst quaffing expensive bubbly and posh nibbly food that isn’t from Iceland!!  Either that or I’ll be sat on my couch berating the shocking quality of telly on New Year’s Eve whilst increasing my waistline by another belt notch or two.  Don’t be jealous.  I hope your celebrations go well, and your new year even better.

Till the next time….

It turns out, I am not the voice.

Another week filled with medical news and hospital updates for us.  After another four days sat waiting for further scannage, my Mum is finally home.  Hopefully now, she can enjoy a pain-free, non A&E Christmas!!  Let’s hope I need blog of hospitals, doctors or the like for quite some time now.

Oli at 8 weeks
He used to look like this.....

You haven’t had an Oli update for at least a few hours so I’ve done some videos of him for today’s post.  I am aware that I am becoming a bit of a bore when it comes to Oli.  We were out last night (more of that later) and I found myself showing folks photos and videos of him on my phone.  If that was you I apologise, and the search for my life continues!

Yesterday Oli and I ventured out onto the local park in the freezing cold and snow to get him nice and dirty ready for his bath when we got back in.  Post bath, once he’s shaken himself over every inch of the house we then always put the fire on so he can dry off nicely!  It makes him all sleepy!

Once he’d had a little nod and got all nice and fluffy again, he was ready for a roll around on the rug, and if you have the patience to stick with this one till the end, he does like to torment a cat or two when he’s in the mood.

Enough of me being a dog bore!!  Let’s move on to me being a bore about other subjects!

We had a night out last night.  That in itself is quite unusual, but in light of recent events and malcontent, it turned out to be what’s called a “nice change”, even if we were perhaps not the world’s most exciting company.  Our lack of practice at this stuff meant that Louise and I were ready for bed at around 10pm, and had to dig deep for a second wind, which spookily I rediscovered this morning on the loo after too much Guinness!

The evening started off with chatter, some lovely food, and drinkies.  It slid inexorably towards silliness through a Christmas quiz, boys versus girls, in which the male types prevailed (what do you mean I shouldn’t have been Googling for answers on my phone?  that’s called being resourceful), a brief stop at Pass the Parcel, which somehow involved taking shots on board with every layer removed, and then inevitably towards the messy car crash that was SingStar.

Having avoided the microphone quite well for some time, the fickle finger picked me out eventually, and as a decent representation of my luck right now, it was no easy ballad in my key (Wandering Star would have been nice) I was landed with a song that no male on the planet is able to sing without surgical alteration.

Thankfully, by this time, everybody was on the wrong side of sober, and didn’t notice me miming like some sort of slightly flabby, paler Milli Vanilli.  I then bowed out gracefully to witness renditions of true Karaoke classics, rounded off by the loudest version of Never Forget since the last time someone did it on Karaoke.  Somehow it became 2am, and we taxied ourselves home and fell into bed.

So today is one of those lazy days with Christmas films on the telly right now (The Grinch currently), with Emily and her friend Laura regressing from sixteen to six again.  Rebecca has gone back to bed after her night out at a party last night, and Louise also seems to have retreated under the duvet, having told me she doesn’t know why she is hung over!!  I suppose if you get so drunk that you can’t remember you were drunk then that makes sense??

I finish for Christmas on Thursday and never have I been so happy to not be at work, as I will be at that time.  I continue to work on my escape plan.  Next Sunday is the big day, and that means there shall be no bloggage on that day.  I warn you of that fact as I know you’d all be rushing to your computers to read it otherwise, sacrificing the Queen’s Speech for Mkingdon nonsense.  What else would you be doing?

As I’m going to be off work for the duration, you will never know when one of these inane posts will appear over the festive period.  It shall be like some unwelcome relative turning up on your doorstep unannounced.  You have been warned.

Till the next time….

There is a light that always goes out….

Being of an OCD nature, with more than a hint of Virgo, I apparently seek perfection in all things, and I am not comfortable with things being incomplete or broken.

I plead guilty to most of that to be honest.

So, already feeling that the Gods are toying with me at present, seeing what new wretchedness they can bestow upon me for their own pleasure, I have developed a theory, based solely upon our dining room light fitting.

It is relatively important to me that things function correctly, and are as they should be, so I am a slave to B&Q each time a bulb goes out around the house.  So this here dining room light fitting is currently funding the fat cat bonus of Messrs B & Q.  Every sodding time I replace one bulb, within twenty-four hours, the one next to it  (it’s always the one next to it) goes out.

It mocks me

So I now have two choices.  I can either throw another three quid down the swanny, (as they do not sell bulbs in single packs) whilst octogenarian shop assistants chuckle under their breath at the B&Q warehouse, or I can simply never again look upwards in our dining room.  Thinking about it, I bought the bloody light fitting from B&Q too, so have they devised an ingenious money-making scam, where the sale of a fitting continues to generate revenue for them on a weekly basis?  I both hate and envy them in equal measure.

For now, let’s see who blinks first in this stand-off where I am refusing to buy another bloody bulb any time soon.

It has been a relatively uneventful and unjoyful week, as most of it was spent in work, uncovering fresh misery upon misery each and every day.  To add to this nonsense and the light bulb persecution, our potentially restful Sunday was hijacked at around lunchtime.  I was due to pick my Dad up from his golf club after his annual “whiskey do”.

This whiskey do involves a round of golf where the winners of each hole take a shot of whiskey.  Then back in the clubhouse the whiskey continues to flow, guaranteeing that those participating will be in no fit state to drive home.  As the weather has been shocking, I decided to call my Mum at lunchtime to see if the golf had been cancelled, meaning I wouldn’t need to make the trip and scrape my Dad off the nineteenth tee.

It turned out that she was having a recurrence of her troubles from last week, and requested that someone took her to the hospital.  So Louise did that, whilst I waited for Dad to phone after his golf to be collected.  Upon collecting him it soon became apparent that he’d had a successful round of golf, and taken on board a fair amount of whiskey.  I informed him that his planned afternoon of sleep and hangover cultivation was cancelled and we were headed for the A&E.

We met up with Louise and Mum there, and did us some waiting.  My Dad, having had fifteen whiskies was probably in the right place, because had I consumed that, I would need to go to A&E too.  He was definitely worse for wear, and I’m not convinced he really knew what was going on.  After some doctorage, we left them at the hospital for tests etc and went home.  Within half an hour of being home (it takes half an hour to drive to or from the hospital), Dad called saying that he didn’t feel great, and could we go and get him!!!  We did, with me dropping him at home, and Louise waiting with Mum.  Are you keeping up so far?

Eventually, some hours later, Louise has arrived home, leaving Mum for more testage and treatment.  She’ll need picking up later, but fear not, I have asked my brother if he’ll step up for that one, as frankly neither of us want to do that journey again today.

So, no-one knows what’s up with Mum right now, and I think that is the worst thing for her, as that causes more worry.  Hopefully they’ll get somewhere near to the bottom of it for the sake of her peace of mind.

I suspect come tomorrow morning, whatever the outcome at the hospital, my Dad will feel the worst of the two.  If the hangover doesn’t get him then my Mum will!!

I’m hopeful for a more positive and rewarding week to come, and surely on the law of averages, that has to happen sometime soon.

Till the next time…..

Deck my balls with boughs of holly….

Alas the lottery balls have denied me the joy of telling work to place their job anywhere north of the sphincter.  The hope I invest in this each week is beyond sad, and until the balls drop on a Saturday evening, in my mind it is a valid route out of a Monday morning.

As you may have predicted the working week was spectacularly poor.  There have been smatterings of good news, with many of my guys affected quickly finding new jobs.  I have greeted these bits of news with a mixture of definite pleasure, and just a little jealousy.  Until I get that lucky, I am enslaved to “work through it”, so onwards I trudge.

My “no work here” rule is under strain, as I could quite easily wax lyrical for quite some time on the reasons that I would literally rather be anywhere else but at work tomorrow, but I shall resist.  No doubt many of you dear readers feel the same, so it would be selfish to do so.

With a veil thrown jauntily over the working week, other news this week was also on the bad side.  Late on Friday night, my Mum was taken into hospital.  She was suffering from some serious abdominal pains, and she was admitted for prodding and testage.  I popped up to see her today, and she seems much better, but is waiting for more scanning to see what on earth it was.  It seems the immediate problem has gone but it would be good of course to find out what the underlying problem was/is.

Having done the visiting thing for an hour or so, Emily I then picked up a new Christmas tree.  We binned our long serving model a couple of years ago, and had a real one last year, but the thought of having both a real xmas tree, and a four-month old puppy in the same house is perhaps not the most sensible idea.  So we’ve (heavily) invested in a new unreal tree.  To get suitable value from the investment, I shall expect my great grand children to be gathered around this bloody tree in decades to come!!

Really, it is just some metal rods with green bits stuck to it.  We left the decoration of the tree mainly to the girls this year, once I’d done the annual wrestle with the lights, and other erection grunt work.  Apologies for the very poor quality snap, but it looks pretty good (honest).

xmas tree
Less blurred in real life

As some sort of well-timed mood setter, it is now snowing outside.  All we need now is three pints of advocat and Shakin’ Stevens to turn up and it’s just like Christmas used to be in the good old days.

So Christmas is on officially, and I welcome its arrival with open arms for many reasons –

1.  I will be off work for almost two weeks

2.  It involves lots of food

3.  It signals the end of what is essentially four months solid of reality TV.

Plus, on January 2nd I like to see if I have won a favourite game of mine.  It is called, which tragic minor celeb has released a fitness DVD for 2012.  Amongst the Hoseasons adverts and that bloody Martine McCutcheon plugging some white gloop that does you good, there is always at least half a dozen Davina’s pushing their lycra clad exertions, with them air brushed within an inch of their lives on the DVD cover.

My predictions for 2012 are –

1.  Any one of the vacuous skin wastages from The Only Way is Essex.

2.  Fatima Whitbread, and by the way, I have an exclusive sneak peak of that one…..


3.  Russell Grant  (yes, he’ll milk this five minutes for all it’s worth).

What are your predictions then??

Till the next time…..