Look, I Am Your Father…

Happy Father’s Day to me! I have awoken to some lovely presents and social media messages from Emily and Rebecca, along with my first card from Freddie. I would spend the day with my feet up, but the shopping arrives shortly, the dogs need walking and we have a new tumble dryer arriving later. If that isn’t a homage to Dads everywhere I don’t know what is.

It won’t surprise you to know that most of my cards and the photos posted online by the girls are WDW related. Our lives are catalogued by a series of photographs stood in front of a lot of the same stuff and I don’t see that in any way as any sort of a bad thing.

I would also like to wish my Dad a Happy Father’s Day, but I always feel a bit silly doing it online as he lives next door and it would just be rude not to pop in and say it in person, so I’ll do that. Thanks Dad for everything you do, have done and will do, as I need some DIY advice again but I’ll wait until you’ve opened your card and present.

Last week also saw a birthday in our household as Bean turned two.

It’s safe to say it wasn’t my idea to get another dog, and in some ways she makes my life harder work, but she’s a little love and we’re stuck with her now and she with us.

As the girls have had the nerve to grow up into adults I now find myself being Dad to Bean and Oli and I’m not sure if that is in any way easier than raising humans. I’m still clearing up poo, breaking up jealous squabbles and taking them to emo based gigs. Oli and Bean are all over Paramore and My Chemical Romance.

So to all Dad’s out there, well done. Keep up the good work, and produce the best little humans you can. In a world where people on Love Island become celebrities, making a sex tape is a route into a multi-billion dollar career and Coldplay sell millions of albums, it is up to you to show them the way.

In reality, like me, you will bumble and stumble your way through it, making loads of mistakes and wrong decisions as I continue to do and just hope that they pick out your best bits and ignore the rest. Oh and take them to Walt Disney World as often as is humanly possible. They’ll turn out all the better for it and so will you.

Here endeth the patronising Dad advice. Right I have too much to do to be rambling on here, that’ll have to do for this week.

Till the next time….


It has been a very sad week in our house.

On my return from London, literally as I walked into the house, my mobile rang, and it was a tearful Louise, at the vets with Henry, telling me that the vet had advised that it looked like time to let him go.  I had the thankless task of telling the girls and bundling them into the car so that we could go and say goodbye at the vets.  From that point on, tears have been an almost constant from someone in our house until, well, about now.  Saying that last goodbye and going through what needed to be done to send him to sleep was something Louise and I will both never forget and hopefully never have to repeat.  The girls were obviously in absolute bits!!

Fourteen years is a long time, as we got Henry when Rebecca was just a few weeks old.  Having two children under eighteen months old was obviously not stressful enough for us, and we added in a hyper active puppy for good measure.  From that day on he has been one of the family.  He has of course driven us mad at times, from eating numerous dummies, which involved me chasing him around the house with one in his mouth, to the fun of reading the foam letters in his poop, after he had pinched them from the bathroom and added them to his diet.

As the years went on, he developed a penchant for going for a wander, and when an open door presented the opportunity he would go for a walk all by himself.  The most legendary of which saw him make it the two miles down the road to my Mum and Dad’s house, crossing several major roads, and managing to find their house and sit at the back door waiting to be let in!

He was clingy, whiny, and in later years snotty, but the sudden loss of him hit everyone like a hammer on Wednesday night, and every time we look around expecting him to be there it hurts a little more.  The first time we came home and didn’t have him at the door wagging his tail was another punch in the guts, and the tears came again.

He has been a terrific dog with the girls, growing up together, never once showing any sort of anger or aggression to either of the girls despite some rough treatment in their very early years.  He has also welcomed and tolerated a procession of other animals into our house over the years, from other dogs, a plethora of cats, a rabbit and the odd guinea pig.  He had a wonderful nature.

It is impossible to capture in a brief post here the impact he had on our family, and the hole he has left behind so I’m really not going to try.  The stark realisation that he won’t be around again is a tough one, and it is sinking in very slowly.  Apologies for the very dry, straight forward and brief entry this week, but it is the very least the little bugger deserved to have a one of these to himself.

Henry, my mate, thank you for all the years you were with us, all the laughs and joy you provided, and the loyalty and unconditional love you gave us.  Wherever you are now, you are hopefully at rest and pain-free.  You will never be forgotten.

Henry snow
Henry in the cold stuff
Come to Daddy!
Henry in the car
Say Cheese
Henry the dog
Handsome Henry
Henry sleeping
Snoring again
Henry cuddle
Being spoilt
Henry water
Posing for the camera

Sleep well Henry. We’ll really miss you.

Till the next time…..

Putting holes in my kids

So I missed my usual Sunday time slot.  You might have spotted that?

I am not actually on this exact one

Right now you find me on a  train, enduring the luxury of First Class, so I have the internets at my disposal, and an impending breakfast on its way.  Such madness as the expense of First Class travel to London is unusual, as quite rightly we are expected to travel cattle class at all times.  However, due to some quirk of the system, First Class was cheaper than cattle at the time I wanted to go.  Result.

So after two minutes of typing and staring at my laptop, whilst my body lurches from side to side courtesy of the Pendolino, I now feel a little queasy.  Fear not I shall soldier on, as if I don’t get this done now, the rest of the week is more than spoken for.

So as I type Emily is on her way to her final exam, and what a mighty relief that will be for all concerned.  It has been a long six week slog for her, and anyone else in our household, as you will know from my oft documented travails around the R word.  Her reaction to most exams has been favourable, so now we wait until late August to find out what lies in front of her for the next couple of years.

Whatever happens results wise, she has, to be fair, put a decent amount of work in, and I suppose that is all you can ask.  Regardless of the letters printed on her results slip, we felt that she deserved some reward.  However, Emily has been holding us to a promise made (by Louise I must add) after perhaps one glass too many of an Old English Sheepdog.  As you know, we are short of a pet or two, so this is just what we need.  I have denied all knowledge of any such promise all along.

Knowing that she had me on the back foot, recently she has been gunning for another option, which was to have her lip pierced.  Every fibre of my body rejected the very idea of defacing her face, but Louise worked on me, and when compared to the dog option it seemed fair enough.  So last Thursday she went to get done.  As holes in your face go, it looks nice, and Emily is delighted with it, which I suppose is all that really matters.  Not to be left out, Rebecca had her belly button done too, again as a reward for efforts valiant, and to cheer her up as last week saw all her friends, and boyfriend go on holiday at the same time, so she has been facius mopius around the house, clutching her phone like some sort of life support device.  Thankfully, folk return today.

Our old pal Henry, our cocker spaniel, is feeling his age a little, and at 14, it is to be expected of course, but I fear we are entering the home straight with him now.  Our friends Steve and Di are visiting this upcoming weekend, and they, as his surrogate parents, will spoil him beyond all bounds I’m sure as usual, which might perk him up a little.  It is hard when it gets to this stage, as we have had Henry as long as we have had a Rebecca, so he truly is one of the family.  True, Rebecca does not lick her backside and eat grass as far as I know, but we can’t hold that against him!

So I have two days in our London office to do, and as I can smell the breakfast, and the swaying of the train is causing me to feel like I do when I have just stepped off of Manta, I will draw this hurried entry to a close.  By the way, if anyone sees the dollar rate surge in the next few days give me a shout?

Till the next time…..

Tardy Remissness…

Well it has been far too long since my last post.  Apologies.

It seems much has happened, but nothing really of earth shattering importance.

As I mentioned right at the end of the last post, I spent a couple of days in the South West “on business”.  Bristol and Stroud don’t really conjure up those cosmopolitan images of exciting business trips that some must endure, to New York or Hong Kong, but at least it got me away from the office for two days.  Adding on the lack of a Friday due to Easter it made for a very pleasant week….well as pleasant as a working week can be.  I do wonder what it might be like to have a job that you actually enjoy and have a passion for.

Don’t get me wrong, I have passion for what I do, to the extent that I want to do a decent job, and get upset when folks either get in the way of that or don’t want to join in.  For all my joshing, I have worked bloody hard for the past 23 years (Oh God that is depressing) and have reached a fairly decent position….but I can’t hand on heart say that I love my job.

I think a lot of that is down to the fact that when I’m gone, I won’t be leaving behind Nobel Prizes and earth changing legacies.  More a list of modest acheivements and regrets that I didn’t try harder to be a pop star when I still had hair!!

Yep, that's the way home.

Anyway, back to the story…whilst in Stroud I again stayed at the Ragged Cot which is a cut above the usual Travelodge style place our budget dictates we stay at.  As well as some (honestly) useful meetings, we did just seem to eat for 24 hours, which can never be a bad thing.  Mental note – actually start the pre holiday diet fat boy, rather than just keep talking about it.

Then of course we had the Easter break, and I must say that a four day weekend should be the norm.  If any party stood at the next election with that on their manifesto I would not only vote for them, I’d be out there now canvassing!!  Forget the small issue of an unsustainable economy, it makes perfect sense to me.

Those familiar with the Pavlov’s Dog theory will perhaps understand my theory of Bank Holidays.  After the bleak winter months, at the first sign of temperatures above zero, and an extra day or two to fill, the entire nation throws itself into DIY.  Some do it as they enjoy it.  I however rank DIY just above removing my eyes with a rusty fork.  Still, the theory held true as we spent most of the long weekend painting.

Louise was of course to blame, as she did her usual trick of starting a job, knowing that I am unable to cope with a half finished project.  So after many days hard slog we now have a chocolate kitchen wall (yes, just one, and not real chocolate…just the colour), which to be fair has made a huge difference to the room, and our whites are sparkling.  That as a result of my non stop glossing.

Chocolate Wall
Bring on the wall!!

I did count the weekend a success though as I managed to avoid setting foot in B&Q.  However as we drove past it during the weekend we did spot the rest of the western world queuing to get on the car park…proving my theory of course.

So back to work, but only for four days so not all bad.  On Wednesday an ex boss of mine called me offering a ticket to Old Trafford that evening.  He is an Everton fan, and I support Liverpool, so this may sound a little odd, but his new company “does corporate” there, so for the sake of a night out and meeting up with him for a chat I of course accepted.

There was a real sense of foreboding as we walked from his office at Salford Quays to Old Trafford, and every United fan who looked at me seemed to be seeing some sort of “I support the enemy” tattoo on my forehead.

Still, it is always a nice experience to see a big football match live, and for someone with my allegiances, imagine my delight to see United go out after leading 3-0 on the night.

Old Trafford
Enemy Soil, literally.

Some may think that you should always support the English team in these situations, but those are people who simply don’t understand the rivalry between Liverpool and United.  I have many friends who support United, and we get along fine, and even can exchange some ribbing both ways after a game.  I am old enough and sensible enough to seperate the two, but the hatred for United as a concept is deep seated and irrevocable I’m afraid.

Friday brought a mini crisis only resolved by having some true friends (who happen not to support United).  The crisis was that I have an ageing cocker.

For those who don’t know, he is called Henry, and is the family dog.  For some time he has been plagued with nasal issues…namely a lovely stream of excess snot.  This is managed by some regular medication from the vet, which seems to be funding his annual holidays and retirement fund.  Over the last few days though it has reached a whole new level in yuk.

The vet was visited again on Friday evening, and it seems that my glossing antics may well have irritated his hooter (not as much as it irritated me having to do it).  The plan was to get some more pills (he wants a three week holiday this year I guess) and if possible to get Henry out of the house for a bit.  As he probably wouldn’t appreciate sleeping in the back garden, we called our good friends Steve and Di, who looked after him when we went away last summer.  They agreed, and this meant we had to do a hand off just off junction 28 of the M62 on Frday evening.  There was nothing illegal involved here, Steve and Di live in Yorkshire, so this was a suitable middle ground.  By the sound of things Henry is having a ball, and hopefully his hooter will be smeg free soon so he can come home.  When the kids get a cold, we’re going to use the same trick to palm them off to Yorkshire as well.

Speaking of friends who actually do support United, to round of this latest post, we entertained Mike and Amanda last night.  At the risk of sounding a little odd, I met Mike on the internet!!  This was many years ago now.  We were both members of The Dibb, and realised we live not far apart, and made that huge leap of actually meeting up in the flesh!

We have many things in common, such as a love of Disney/Florida and a hatred of our jobs, but a realisation that we must endure the latter to have any chance of enjoying the former.

Having spent many an evening around their fire pit, we have taken the plunge and invested in one for ourselves.  Wow, a fire pit and decking….as Rik from the Young Ones would have said “Stop being so blinking Bourgeoisie Neil”.  Even though I am not called Neil.

Fire Pit
Help, the decking is alight!!

Again having avoided B&Q for another weekend, we enjoyed a nice evening staring into the fire and poking it with a stick.  Nights don’t get much more exciting.  So much so that Louise wandered off to bed well before Mike and Amanda left, which was in no way related to the amount of red wine consumed.  She was just tired.

So today is to be a true day of rest, before the diet starts tomorrow (other phrases in the same category…the cheque is on the post, we don’t mind looking after your snotty dog and I have no homework Dad honest).

Till the next time….