Endless Entertainment and Crap Trains

Sometimes these posts are just random rants and others they are very much a diary update (this is what it started out as way back in November 2009!). This one falls very much into the latter category as for once some stuff has happened this week! Rejoice!

The week just gone has been a veritable smorgasboard of cultural enlightenment and social interaction. Not all of it was welcome but you live and learn.

On Thursday evening I went to the Comedy Store in Manchester with some work colleagues for one of those team night out things. It is a sad sign of my advancing years that I was finding the prospect less than thrilling as Thursday rolled along, and the appeal of going home, getting warm and “seckled” seemed like the preferable option.

As is usually the case, after making the effort it was an enjoyable night. None of the comedians on the bill were household names of course, but that didn’t stop them being entertaining (on the whole) and I laughed a lot. I doff my imaginary cap to their bottle and bravery to do such a thing.

It would appear that some of the audience are regulars and attend to indulge in the sport known as heckling. It is a bit of a one-sided sport with the comedians having the microphone and all the wit but it was funny at times nonetheless.

As soon as the last act finished I and other “aged” colleague were off home leaving those with an age lower than my waist measurement to go off and do silly things like get drunk on a work night.

On Friday evening Louise, Emily and I went to the cinema to watch the Catching Fire (Hunger Games 2) film. My Pick N Mix intake of late has reached health threatening proportions. With Saving Mr Banks and a whole host of decent films coming out over Christmas I may be diabetic by January.

Despite a delayed start due to some broken heating in one of the theatres, we enjoyed the film a lot. It was Emily’s second viewing of it as she had gone to a midnight showing in the early hours of Thursday too. Being the second in a series of three (or is it four? I heard the last book will be two films) it ended in a weird place but a good sign was that the almost three hours flew by so it must have been entertaining.

As if two outings were not enough, on Saturday we decided to go to the German Christmas Markets in Manchester. In all the years it has been on we have never done so, and felt it was high time we did. In a very rare event, all four of us ventured out together on a family outing, Rebecca is nowadays more often than not doing boyfriend things, so that was a nice change.

We had decided to use public transport, namely a train, from our local station at Bromley Cross to Manchester. The service operated by Northern Rail was bordering on a risk to public safety. The number of people crammed into the train was incredible. You know that I am not one to complain about the cost of things, but at £32 return for the four of us, we could have flown to a European city off-peak for not much more.

Safe to say, especially after the journey from hell back home again we shall not be doing anything as silly again. We shall drive.

Upon arriving we of course ate. This was a Williams outing regardless of the venue.

rebecca markets

Anyway, the markets themselves were busy too, and so it was difficult at times to even look at the stalls. We did the best we could, and combined the visit with my trip to the Apple Store for my Genius appointment. My iPhone had stopped liking Wi-Fi recently and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. I had read on the internets that the latest version of the operating system was more than likely to blame, frying the Wi-Fi chip, and as much as the long-haired youth with a red T Shirt on didn’t want to confirm this, he did everything but.

Of course with my phone out of warranty, he offered me an option of a new handset for £150 at which I laughed. He suggested I go back to the retailer I bought it from, who under “Consumer Law” should replace or repair for free within two years.This was clearly an Apple script for dealing with that seems to be a massive fail on their part as the internet is full of the same problem, all after the upgrade to OS7. Of course the retailer did not wish to do any such thing, so I was brewing for a huge argument when I realised that my very posh bank account provides us with mobile phone insurance, so I called them today and a new handset will be with me tomorrow.

That, my friends, is a right result. So that went some way to make up for the horrific journey to and from Manchester at an extortionate price.

So how on earth in that whirlwind of a week have I found time to get “the book” up to 40,000 words? Well, each lunchtime I manage to crack off about 2,000 words, and then with some evening tweaking and a good solid session today, that is where I am. I’m rather pleased with that.

I don’t want to rush the thing, but I’m finding the discipline of doing so much each day really helping. Some of it will be crap of course as sometimes I just don’t feel like it, but that is all for correction and improvement later.

In other good news, last week I confirmed my holidays over the Christmas season, and I am more than delighted to say that I finish at lunch time on the 18th of December and do not darken work’s door again until the 6th of January. That dwarfs the previous right result, and is off the scale in terms of awesomeness. That will give me a really nice break from work, a chance to write, and to double my waist measurement in two and a bit weeks. Hooray.


Till the next time….

Noddy Holder’s Letterbox

Somewhere in Birmingham, there is an elderly chap sat by his letterbox waiting for the Performing Rights Society cheques to arrive. His mutton-chop sideburns twitch in anticipation of the royalties from Now That’s What I Call The Same Christmas Songs Every Year 127 to land on his doormat. Noddy likes Christmas.

Yes, the supermarket ads are on, they are all shite, and will make absolutely no difference whatsoever to where I buy my matchmakers and celebratory Heroes this Christmas. Ant and Dec have sanctioned the murder of a Disney classic, John Lewis have gone all Watership Down and Asda haven’t really bothered at all.

It is mid November I may add, so anybody with their decorations up, should, much like those responsible for any minor car accident that causes me delay, be executed at the side of the road.

That seamless segue way into my traffic woes brings me to the over arching theme of last week. My soul-destroying, hope crushing commute to the office. It isn’t often the case that I have to do it five times a week, as I am often elsewhere for part of the week, so maybe that was part of the problem, but it was horrific.

Add to that woe the “fun” of Children In Need on Friday and I have had better weeks. Having to sit at my desk in my dressing gown, and how that helps some deprived child get help is beyond me, but that was the situation I found myself in. Not being able to (Pudsey) bear seven hours of Terry Wogan mis-reading an auto cue, we decided to go to the cinema instead.

We went and watched The Butler.

It was good. I know that sounds less than glowing, but we enjoyed it. It just wasn’t the life changing event it seems to have been built up to be. Oprah and Forrester were excellent in the leading roles, and it was easy to watch. I would describe it as a sort of black Forrest Gump, but not as light-hearted.

We returned home full of expensive snacks, and in my case the inevitable heart burn that Pick n Mix results in, just in time to see the only thing we were interested in on Children In Need. McBusted performed, and as we had secured tickets for their concert in May next year, we enjoyed it.

For those who have read Going Limp, (and thank you for all the five star reviews!) it may not surprise you to learn that when the intro to Year 3000 kicked in, Emily cried. As she explained, that was her childhood right there. Busted were the first band she liked, her first gig, and something which steered her musical taste to what it is today.

Rebecca is equally excited at the prospect of the gig, but managed not to cry at the first sight of them!


I have little shame in being a forty-three year old man who will be fourteen rows from the front at their concert. It will be a family outing full of nostalgia, and probably some unhealthy food. Why should I feel shame when people go and watch Coldplay, U2 and Fleetwood Mac all the time.

By next May, hopefully well before, I also hope to have my new book finished too. See how I used all that pre-amble to simply navigate you to another stroke of my literary ego? This week I passed the 25,000 words mark.  That’s a lot, believe me, and I do kind of like it, whilst at times also hating it.

I’m probably about half way through the story as I understand it today, but the really fun part of writing, I have found in my extensive two-week writing career, is the way in which it develops a life of its own, and ideas just land out of the blue to get you out of a dead-end.  My over arching worry, beyond my competence, is that I will somehow encounter a blind alley in the story and not be able to write myself out of it. If all else fails I’ll just have an asteroid hit the earth, and introduce a Bruce Willis character as that seems to work in a lot of films.

Anyway, I’m off to celebrate the fact that Downtown Abbey isn’t on tonight. Small victories.

Till the next time…..

That’s right, I write.

Reading last week’s post back a few days later I was struck with a sense of pomposity and over blown self-image, but hey, I is a writer now, so I guess that is how I roll!

Still, outing myself in that way was a good thing. It has made me write, and as I type I am up to just short of 12,000 words. That sounds like a lot, but I need to get about 80,000 which of course isn’t daunting at all.

There is nothing like completely winging something to get the juices flowing.

I did call upon two kind folks to read the first few chapters last week, (after Louise had read it) just to get some honest feedback as to whether I’d be better spending my time power washing the yard in my spare time. The content was very raw of course but their feedback was encouraging enough to get me to continue.

So if and when you do read this thing, I shall tell you who that was and you can send them hate mail!

I am enjoying it too. I do have frequent attacks of the “this is a heap of shite” but I shall carry on regardless, taking pleasure in the process as much as I can. The story is developing on the page and in my head, so I just hope it is good enough to hold someone’s attention.

Outside of writing stuff, the week has been filled with work of course and another stay in Marlow. M’colleague and I were delighted to discover that the heating was broken in our “hotel” upon our arrival, and so after consuming huge amounts of Chicken Saag and Naan bread we returned to the hotel where I slept in every item of clothing I had brought with me. Well, I say slept. I lay horizontal for a few hours until about 6am.

In a vague attempt at revenge I emptied the hotel room of anything that wasn’t nailed down and my laptop bag is still full of complimentary shortbread. Had I a bigger car, I’d have had the fridge and TV away too.

I don’t do cold very well.

Emily is working most days at our local Debenhams. She has a Christmas job in the cafe there and is quickly becoming a black belt at Lattes and operating a dishwasher. By the time she finishes at the start of January she will have about 80% burns and a bank balance she has no idea how to spend. I am calculating the due rent as we speak.

Rebecca continues on her course at college (Media Make Up and Hair), and is enjoying it very much. Her small ambition is to finish the course and then immediately start work doing the hair and make up on a major Hollywood movie. I see no reason why not.

Tonight, Louise and I are going on a date night. If memory serves that will involve finding a deserted car park and fiddling with her knockers for a few hours. Either that or we will go to the cinema. We haven’t decided yet.

If we do the latter I don’t know what we’ll see yet, but as long as it involves £20 of Pick N Mix it will be a date night of which dreams are made.

Come to Daddy

I only have to sell a few more books and that will be the Pick n Mix paid for, so thank you.

Oh yeh, BUY MY BOOK!!

Till the next time…..

The Hangover from the Hullabaloo

Right then, I expect the exact same number of visitors and comments on every blog post from now on, or I will be demanding written explanations!!

Safe to say, my last post drew a few more readers and commenters, which I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised by. Everyone likes a bit of a kerfuffle from time to time. I could see a fair few referrals from new and different sources too, which you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out.

If you are a new reader, welcome along, and don’t get used to every post being so arsey and popular. I can slip right back into mediocre banality with great ease. Just watch.

When I wrote that last post I did have an undeniable feeling that I would regret doing so, and part of me does. To make such a fuss over something which is so trivial really isn’t my style, but, being frank I was really pissed off, albeit with a small majority.

On balance, I’m glad I got it off my chest though. If a few were brave enough to post those thoughts then maybe a lot more had similar feelings and I’m pleased to have a platform and a chance to have said my piece. Let’s not get into it again though.

The amount of feedback and support I received was incredible, amazing and totally unexpected. I thank every single person who left comments.

If you have enjoyed Going Limp and left a review on Amazon, that is very much appreciated too.

With nothing to write now, I start to get twitchy when I’m sat doing nothing, with a weird sensation that I should be doing something more productive. Yes, those six minutes every day when I have my free time are a real curse!

That is a problem for me in general to be honest. I am task and completion driven, and can find it hard to relax at times. I suppose this is part of why I love these holidays so much, as they are a hobby in themselves with all the planning and research that needs to go into them. Of course, most of the actual holiday involves doing rather than doing nothing so that suits me too. I like the idea of sitting on my arse and doing nothing but when it comes to it, I feel the need to be doing something. Clearly I need help.

This is not, I’m afraid to say, a prelude to me announcing our next trip. It couldn’t look further away to be honest. There’s more chance of Paul Gambacinni being booked for a children’s birthday party as far as I can see now, but as I always say there are many lottery draws between now and next summer. Never say never.

Innocent until it hits the papers

So with that task driven personality in mind, along with a gap where I used to sit and write something most days, plus the prospect of not planning a trip any further than Asda, I have decided to do something I keep saying I should.

The nonsense of last week also contributed to this, as I realised that rather than keep meaning to do it, and threatening to make time I should just start. If I am ever to justify the reasons why I said I was putting these reports in an eBook, then I need to just get on with it, and stop messing about. The flood of supportive comments also gave me a timely shove in what I hope is the right direction.

So what on earth am I doing? Starting a diet? God knows I should, but no I’m writing something. An idea came to me on Thursday, that for the first time felt solid enough to be a story worth reading. It was an extension of a theme or idea I’d had for years to be honest, but all of sudden out of nowhere some more layers to the story appeared, and I quickly threw down a plan on a piece of paper, and I’ve started.

In fact I’m 3,000 words in. Now of course 2,999 of them may be rubbish, but I’m going to try to be disciplined and do 1,000 words a day whenever I can. In those 3,000 words, at different stages I have already declared it everything from the best thing ever written to a shambolic illiterate mess, and I’ve only done three chapters. This could be an interesting exercise. Expect future posts to say I have thrown it in the bin, given it up as a hopeless exercise and maybe one or two claiming they will be building a Land themed on my book in Universal.  Maybe not so much of the latter.

Anyway, it feels good to be doing something, and the whole reason for declaring it here, which is not something I would normally do, is to make sure that I keep doing it, and don’t let it fester on my computer as I did the last attempt several years ago. By outing myself as someone who has such delusions of grandeur as to actually write a work of fiction then I will hopefully feel the required pressure to get it done, and see what it turns out like.

Should it be OK, and I decide to publish it, I just hope that there won’t be a public outrage over me selling it for actual money!!  Oh, no I said we wouldn’t go there again! Sorry.

Right, I’m off now to try and relax….again.

Till the next time…..