Tim Tracker & Peter Pan

The tone of these posts usually reflects the traditional sick at the pit of my stomach feeling that Sundays bring. I’ve long since forgotten why I dread Mondays so much, but I do, so when, like today I have to write a post without the dark cloud of work on the horizon tomorrow then surely the post shall be filled with rainbows and sunshine? I make no promises.

When my Sunday has been filled with the Trafford Centre then there is a fair chance that my aching feet and broken wallet may darken my mood. To be honest though it wasn’t that bad and spending the afternoon with Louise, on our own, was a nice change, made all the more palatable by the fact that nothing was purchased. This, I fear, is merely delaying the inevitable as she needs an outfit for her graduation ceremony on Tuesday. This brings me nicely to the reason that I have no work tomorrow. Having the day off on Tuesday to attend Louise’s graduation made me see the benefit in adding the preceding Monday to that and having a long weekend. Sat here now staring at that Monday it may well be one of the better decisions in my life time.

Tomorrow can be a seldom had, “me day” where I do all the things I wish I was doing when I’m sat at my desk doing things I wish I wasn’t. A lie in, hopefully, some XBox, a little plinking and a plunking on my bass and whatever else takes my fancy. If Emily is home, we may catch a couple of videos from some vloggers we have been watching for a while. Emily discovered them (of course). Usually my tolerance for vloggers is minimal and the same for podcasts too if I’m honest, but this one is well done and has some good content. It’s been a lovely way to spend time in and around the parks without being there.

The vlogger in question is The Tim Tracker. He’s been at it for a good while so if you do find them enjoyable you will have a lot of content to go at. If you aren’t good with facial hair then it may not be for you, but otherwise it’s worth a watch.

The other thing along similar lines that I have noticed taking off in a big way recently is Periscope. That’s mainly down to me downloading the app and following a few folks, so my phone buzzes regularly to tell me someone is “live”. If you aren’t familiar with the concept it is basically a live video streaming app, where viewers can comment and show their love for the stuff they are watching. The ones from the Disney folk are good of course, as they are typically in a park, live, and who doesn’t want to see that? I am toying with the idea of doing some Periscopes (I think you call them that) when we are over there. Let me know if you think you’d be interested in joining our holiday for a few moments, assuming I can find something interesting to “broadcast”. If there’s enough interest, we’ll give it a go. The problem is that the only time I’ll have time and remember to do it is when I’m sat around waiting for females to be ready, so you may just get shots of me being grumpy around the villa. What’s not to like?

The week ahead, as I say starts with two days off for me and then Wednesday sees me down south on business. You can’t beat eight hours in the car for a ninety minute meeting! Then on Friday, Mustard are back on the road, albeit a short one to a pub about five minutes from our house, with our next gig. I’d invite you all, but there wouldn’t be room!

Having been clothes shopping with Louise and then walked Oli, I am now typing this thing as the tea which I am making comes to fruition in the oven. It is steak tonight, cooked just how I like it…which is pretty much however it turns out by the time I finish typing this. Emily could be helping but she is busy watching Peter Pan for the gabillionth time. I don’t mean the Disney animated version, although she does like that one. The version in question is a live action one that she has been totally obsessed with since it came out in her formative years way back in 2003. I suspect Peter (Jeremy Sumpter) may have been her first crush…

These days he’s twenty-three stone and bald.

Till the next time…..

Five Guys, Six Beers and Fifty Years.

I often take a look at the search terms put into Google that bring folks to my blog. There are of course a lot of mkingdons, mkingdoms and other obvious stuff but I have a huge sense of satisfaction that some people come to read my stuff having googled “dwarf sex”. Firstly, why, and secondly how dissappointed they must be when they get here.

It’s the small things.

This week we went to the Trafford Centre. I know this is folly, as any visit there post October is bound to be like a journey through the gates of hell but it could not be avoided. However, it was compensated for nicely with my first ever Five Guys burger. Contrary to popular belief, my diet does not consist of many burgers, I just like good ones, whether they be between doughnuts or simple bread. I did find the Five Guys experience a good one, and the stuff was obviously of a higher quality than your McDonalds or Burger King but I suppose it should be as it is twice the price.

The hours of shopping were somehow more tolerable with a ludicrous amount of food in my belly. I even bought a shirt! My clothes shopping is pretty much confined to American malls, but having missed our trip this year, there was no avoiding it. There’s nothing like trying on new clothes in the unforgiving lights of a hot changing room to start a diet!

The crazy investment in new clothing was driven by our year’s entire social activity taking place over this and the next two weekends. Last night, we attended a party to celebrate my brother’s 50th birthday. It’s always nice to see folks for the first time in ages at these gatherings and last night was no exception. I spent most of the night chatting to an old friend, Paul, who I was in bands with for much of the late 80’s and early 90’s. We both had more hair at the time, and I certainly had a smaller waist, but we are still rock Gods despite the advancing years.

It’s always very easy to slip back into a friendship forged in cold rehearsal rooms, recording studios and enhanced by the natural laxative of live performances. As ever, we vowed to keep in touch and get together more often. This time we really must! Hopefully, Paul will follow through on his promise to dig out our old recordings from his loft and if it is technically possible I shall share them with you, whether you like it or not.

There are rumours of photographic evidence of our devastating pop star looks in the form of some photoshoot pictures. I suspect I am all cheekbones, fringe and smoking good looks. That’s how I remember it anyway, I think.

A good night was had by all with my brother’s band Mustard performing a great set despite the onset of many beers. There was dancing, joviality and most importantly pasties, oh yes and alcohol. This was one of the results.


As the event drew to a close around midnight, Rebecca reminded everyone that we really were getting on a bit, as we headed home for a cup of tea and bed, she went off with her friends into town. I think I remember that sort of thing. I was impressed with myself for making it to midnight to be honest.

Today has been a gentle affair with not much done beyond a dog walk, and now a blog post. I suspect it has been the same for most of the attendees of the party.

Next weekend we are off to Yorkshire to stay with our friends Steve and Di. We always look forward to this as they are lovely, fantastic hosts and great at feeding us. On my return I may have to go shopping again for another shirt in the next size up.

The rest of tonight will involve picking up Rebecca from work and allowing her to drive me home. There is little else worse for a control freak like myself so I shall have to be brave! Then we have some TV to catch up from last night, and then tonight’s to enjoy. Thankfully this Downtown nonsense is over and we can concentrate on proper stuff like Homeland. I salute it for being good Sunday night telly without a period costume in sight.

I shall leave you with a tease about some news I had earlier today. Inexplicably I have been signed up to blog for a large Disney site (it’s US based so not the Dibb) and I shall be working on my first post soonish. I shall be calling upon you all to click links and stuff to give them the illusion that people might be interested in stuff I produce. Don’t let me down. More details shall follow.

Till the next time…..

Now is the winter of our discontent.

The persistence of the winter weather is doing nothing for my lack of WDW blues.  Or maybe the weather gods realise that as soon as I see daffodils and a couple of hours of sunshine I have to sacrifice a credit card at the altar that is Kayak.com.

My seasonal body clock is so conditioned to the spring booking of a holiday that maybe this prolonged winter is just God’s way of telling me that it isn’t to be this year.  Or, perhaps we are now in a four-year long winter, like those off of Game of Thrones, and anytime soon I’ll be having dwarf sex and expressing my road rage by cleaving someone’s head from their incompetent shoulders with a huge sword fashioned from the bumper of a Ford Fiesta.

Strange days indeed.  More strange happenings on Saturday when I found myself driving to the Trafford Centre, and I wasn’t at gun point.  Instead, Emily and I were on a mission to deposit her CV and desire to work at the Disney Store there.  The journey was horrific as someone had been incompetent enough to prang into each other on the M60 at a very inconvenient (to me) location.

Having taken much longer than it should, we battled our way through the throngs, using maximum body swervage and tuttage.  A brief chat with a Cast Member, CV left, and we were off again back to the car, keen to spend as little time in that place as possible.  If anyone happens to know the manager of said Trafford Centre Disney store do put in a good word.

On Friday evening, Emily and Rebecca went to watch One Direction at the MEN arena in Manchester.  We booked the tickets well over a year ago, so the fact that band still existed was a bonus.  Thankfully, at the ages of soon to be 16 and 18 they were more than capable of finding their own way there on the train.

Apparently, they had some obnoxious fellow travelers.

They wished they were not going in One Direction
They wished they were not going in One Direction

Of course they loved the gig, had decent seats, and screamed a lot.  Much as they did at the Jonas Brothers a year or two ago.  Ah, whatever happened to them?

I of course was on pick up duty after the gig, and upon the girls texting me that the second to last song had started I joyfully trotted to the car and headed for Manchester at 10.20.

The fact that I didn’t get back home until 12.20am was a major cause of a sense of humour loss.  Two hours you say?  Why on earth would it take two hours?  Well, the square mile around the MEN was at an absolute standstill.  So there I sat amidst hundreds of other driver Dads in their slippers, looking at the 1Ders walking past us in the pouring rain and answering texts from impatient and cold daughters asking where the bloody hell we were.

I’ve done so many post gig pick ups over the years but this was the worst by a mile.  Maybe EMO gig attendees walk home and don’t need Dads and Mums to pick them up?  I suppose the average age at a 1D gig will mean that parents are more likely to drive them home, but I also noticed that the major road through the city centre had been pedestrianised since last I did this taxi run.  At the risk of sounding like Alan Partridge, that didn’t help.

Can someone please reverse that before I have to pick them up from the MEN again please?

On the positive side, it meant that I missed a fair chunk of Comic Relief.  Having had to dress up in 80’s fancy dress at work this week, and have “fun”, missing Lenny Henry’s “katanaga” for the twenty fifth year was welcome I can tell you.  Me, miserable?  Never.  I don’t mind donating, just don’t inflict seven hours of folk being wacky and zany on me.

Does it make me a bad person that I really don’t want to hear Sharon from Huddersfield tell the nation she raised £300 by dressing up as a tampon and being dunked into a water tank?

The endless procession of Kevins from accounts dressed as teletubbies desperately trying to get into camera shot with oversized cheques just makes me want to self harm.  No doubt I am going straight to hell, where I shall have to watch Davina McCall and Claudia Winkleman present inane tosh for eternity.  It’ll be called Children in Red Noses Day.

Till the next time…..


So much writing it’s wrong

I’ve done a lot of writing this week, which is a symptom of being able to concentrate on anything for more than ten minutes again.  Which is nice!

As well as last week’s blog of course, I took the time to pen the pre trip report for our upcoming holiday.  I have mentioned that we’re going on holiday haven’t I?  If you have read it, thank you, and if you left a nice comment even more of a thank you.

It was a bit of a long one, and came a little bit early.  There you go, I am limbering up nicely for this year.  My innuendo muscle is responding nicely to the training.

I also made a long overdue return to the WDW Dads, and posted an article there.  I’d been asked to consider the main differences when planning what our US friends consider to be “very long” trips to WDW.  Funny that, as every holiday I’ve been on there seems to flash past in about three days.

Somehow I also seemed to make time to write a guest blog for Lucy over at her Disneyroobs blog.  I believe she is having a series of guest writers in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for those.  I won’t spoil things by saying what my post is about, but I doubt it will be a massive surprise to any of you!  I don’t know exactly when mine will be used, but don’t worry I will shamelessly publicise when it is.

So I haven’t had much time to do anything else really.  I did collect my new car on Tuesday, so I have been getting used to that.  It may be a little smaller than my last car (but let’s face it, most cars are) but it still gets the job done!

The other main task of this week has been the appointing of a builder to sort the loft out.  As I’ve mentioned, this is to be Emily’s bedroom.  It is a fully fledged room already, as the house was originally built with it as a room.  However, I don’t think it had been touched very much since.  So after two weeks of demo, we are ready for the builders.

The quote was of course much higher than we were hoping, but if we are to do it, we may as well do it properly and not cut any corners.

It is always hard to show a room off on photos, but in the spirit of a before shot, here is what we currently have.

loft stairs
Stairway to a mess

loft 2

Lofty ambitions

We are using the same chaps that did our garage conversion at the old house, and they reckon within a week they will be done and we can start decorating.  Now there is something to look forward to!

We hope to have the whole thing done before Nana and Granddad go to France in early August as Emily is currently sleeping at their house, and she wouldn’t be keen on doing so on her own!

This morning I moved all the boxes we’d shoved up into the loft when we moved in, so that the builders can start work.  They are all currently rammed into our ensuite bathroom, so going to the loo in there takes a certain talent and a very good aim for the next week or so.

With that and a bit of house tidying done, I took Emily to the Trafford Centre so that she could get some more holiday clothes for her two, yes two, upcoming holidays.

She is off to Spain with her friend in late July.  Her friend’s grandparents have a villa there, and she has been invited along for a week.  We took Nana shopping too so that she could step in whenever I wanted to strangle Emily. She is officially the worst and most frustrating shopper in the world.

We returned without violence, and she got herself a load of stuff so that was good.  Whilst I was out Louise wallpapered Rebecca’s bedroom.  Well, one wall of it anyway.  Most of her walls are covered in fitted wardrobes and drawers, but she wanted the wall behind her bed doing in a specially selected (about three months ago) vintage look wallpaper.  You see, I would rather go to the Trafford Centre than do DIY!

There is nothing so tiring as walking around a large shopping place.  I’m sure they pipe mogadon through the air con.  I had that familiar shopping foot ache, and a thirst that could not be quenched.

Emily found it tough going too.

emily couch
Over tired!

To be fair that was more a result of me watching the end of the tennis.  Emily declared it “even more boring than football”.  High praise indeed.

After Murray’s inevitable defeat, I made tea, ate it and that leads us right up to now as I sit writing this.

Before I leave you I should say that I am really enjoying the live updates from our friend Gordon, as he tweets and Instagrams his way around WDW.  Make sure you find him on a social media site near you, where he is invariably called The_Finkelstein.

He will back all too soon, and I ask you that you all support him at that terrible time.  From the look of things he is having an absolute ball, and the back to reality crash may be a big one.

I on the other hand will be deep into my final countdown and I shall be rubbing that in at every opportunity.

Till the next time…….

My Dog’s Anal Glands are Expensive. (No really!)

I need a holiday.  Really, I am exhausted.

This isn’t helped in any way by our house going up for sale, so as well as having to prepare for the important stuff, such as our trip, but I’m also having to cosmetically enhance the house to fool some idiot into thinking we’ve done loads of work on it rather than hand over all our renovation budget to the board of Disney.

A house has gone on the market down the road which Louise tells me we like and, therefore we are to see if we can off load our current one to secure it.

As you might expect last week at work did not fly by, but somehow the weekend arrived, with a slight sense of foreboding as I had an inkling of the amount of stuff we had to get done.

The weekend started with the revelation that the cheap as chips suitcase we’ve been using for a decade will not survive another trip.  Really, is nothing built to last these days??  Indignant at having to spend money after only ten short years of dragging our current case across the Atlantic, the first task of the weekend was to secure new luggage.  We also had a very brief discussion about buying a new rucksack.  Louise pointed out one that would be suitable, and I reacted like she had suggested I lopped off my left arm.  Ryan is getting on and he needs some work but if that were the criteria for being replaced I would have been gone long ago.

A case of bad taste?

We left the girls at home getting ready to go out with their friends, (which worryingly takes forever these days…there will be trouble on holiday if I am denied early startiness) and Louise and I scoured at least two shops to find something suitable.  There wasn’t a great deal of choice if I’m honest, but the main criteria being, it is cheap, and it is well proportioned (hey, that sounds like me), we soon settled on the flowery affair you can see in the picture.

Size wise it fits the bill as either of the girls could get in it, which in hindsight could have saved me the cost of one flight!!

For the second time in recent history I then ventured to the Trafford Centre on a Saturday, as Louise “had no clothes at all” for the holiday.  I needed a couple of things too, and as I needed Louise along to let me know if I liked stuff, it was two birds with one stone.

Weird Bug
About to be blown off....

As we got in the car to leave I spotted something on the roof the likes of which I have never seen before in this country.  As the photo shows, it is half dung beetle, half fly, and after snapping a quick photo I was glad to get into the car, floor the accelerator and see it be blown off in my rearview mirror, and that isn’t something you see every day, unless you go looking for it on the internet.

First things first, we had lunch.  Then we started the tour of every women’s clothing shop in there.  The day was full of ups and downs, with lows as “nothing looks right”, and then moments of elation as a triumphant Louise emerges from a changing room, garments aloft, wielding here switch card like a samurai sword.

I got some new trainers.  The whiteness of these new trainers you cannot begin to perceive.  They come with several sets of dark glasses to be handed out to passers-by.  They announce the fact that I have just purchased them like the brightest beacon on the darkest night.  Did I mention that they are white?

I also got some brown sandals.  Now, as I told the girls this on our return home, their faces reflected the horror that phrase could mean.  However, trust me they look very suave and sophisticated.  I like them because Louise said so, and she also said they are good as they hide most of my horrid feet from view.

Our return from shopping saw me go to the gym and the supermarket as is becoming my Saturday routine, and Louise, not yet fed up with retail establishments ventured out again to the Middlebrook retail park, next to the Reebok stadium, even though a match was in full flow.  She has no fear, having braved the Trafford Centre, she now struck out solo to face the traffic chaos that is the end of a match at the Reebok.

She returned with that holiday essential, a new phone!  Yes, that’s right, with mere hours to go until departure, she felt the need to replace our perfectly good phone.  I didn’t really pursue that for personal safety reasons, and she did seem to have bought enough clothes for the entire Magic Kingdom crowd, so I’m guessing she’s sorted now.

Jim Carrey
Bum Steer

Now, a word of warning.  If you, like us, enjoy settling down as a family to watch a film, then don’t whatever you do, do so with one called “I Love You Phillip Morris”.

We are big Jim Carrey fans, so we were looking forward to watching this one, and the 15 certificate told us it was fairly sure to be OK for the girls, with perhaps a little swearing, which is nothing they won’t have heard anytime that I’m doing DIY.

I won’t go into details here, but the “bottom” line is that the girls quickly made their excuses and averted their eyes in a few “love scenes” as I quickly scrabbled around trying to find the fast forward button.

Don’t get me wrong, the film is very good, just not a family one!

Then, the day of rest dawned.  Louise had been up for a while, making lists!  I knew immediately I was in trouble.  So today I have –

  • Hung a picture (minimum swearing)
  • Mowed the lawn
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Dropped the girls off somewhere
  • Popped in to see my Mum
  • Resealed the bath
  • Hung a mirror (maximum swearing)
  • Made tea (putting that pizza in the oven was a tough one).

Louise was last seen in our bedroom somewhere under a pile of clothes.  I think I got the better deal to be honest.  Rebecca has just done the “try on” of stuff in her drawers and selected the garments that will make the Atlantic crossing, and Emily is now upstairs doing the same.  I suspect they will both return with more than they left with!

So we move into the last few days, and for once I am having to work right up until the day we go, as having just started at the new place, I have very few holidays to take.  So Louise is off Wednesday and Thursday to get stuff ready, and I shall appear on Thursday evening just in time to sit on the case, zip it up, and then unzip it again on Friday morning to force all the last-minute hair apparatus in.  I suppose I could leave my GHDs behind??

Emily’s idea of getting ready for holiday is to try on three T-shirts and then ask which take away we are having on Thursday evening.  For the record she wants a curry.

As I type I can hear a conversation upstairs centring around knickers, and thankfully the verdict is she has enough.  This is good news as this morning Louise took Henry to the vets.  The amount of money exchanged there was on a par with the holiday budget, so if we haven’t got something now we’re doing without.  Henry is fine by the way, apart from an infected ear, and issues around his anal glands.

Apparently, after a quick root around up there, and the appearance of some cottage cheese like substance from his glands, Louise almost lost her breakfast, and don’t forget Louise has worked in Operating theatres, and sees old lady boobs all day every day.

He seems much happier in himself now, and when Louise came home and described the procedures done by the vet, I sort of understood the amount of cash charged.

Anyway, he’s ready for his holidays in Yorkshire now, but the instructions for the giving of medication is longer than this here post, so the best of luck to Steve and Di, his carers whilst we are pet free.

So come on Friday, hurry yourself along.  I only hope the trip is a magical one, and gives a good return for the sheer amount of hours that have gone into it’s making.  For the record here are some of the milestones I am looking forward to –

  • The airport
  • Arriving at the villa
  • The first “big shop” at the supermarket (cake, beer, crisps with perhaps some fruit)
  • The walk up Main Street on our first morning
  • Food, all of it.
  • Hard Rock Hotel
  • Harry Potter stuff
  • Daytona
  • The Beach Club
  • and I even don’t really mind turning forty!

I will say goodbye for now, as I doubt I will blog whilst overseas.  I may manage the odd tweet/facebook as the girls will have their laptops with them, and I shall see you all back here in early September for more tales of household chores, shopping and my dog’s backside.  How could you resist?

Till the next time…..