Thursday, May 28, 2009

Days Out.

‘I say Hermoine, isn’t this all just so charming?’

It is a Saturday. I am trying to enjoy it.

A big part of our local science museum involves a working model of the river that we live by. There are aprons, toys and much general fun to be had.

Favourite Son and Favourite Daughter are having a grand time.

Except that Favourite Son has, without his consent or interest, acquired a new ‘friend’.

‘And isn’t your dear Felicity doing so well? Oh look at her, pretending to torment that lovely little boy?’

‘Oh! That back-fired a bit. She must feel awful. Difficult to judge quantities and such-forth at that age. The little chap doesn’t seem to mind that much though. Plenty of towels and hand-driers about.’

‘So darling now isn’t she? I can’t believe how she’s come on, playing with such a little fellow obviously so much younger than her. How considerate. She’s so precious.’

She isn’t ‘precious’ I think to myself. She’s a ‘little fucking cunt’.

And if she ‘accidentally’ splashes my son with water one more time I’m going to knock her out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Charity. Again.

Her name was Maria by the way.

She died yesterday.

I didn't really know her that well.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Park. Again.

Last month.

This bloody-rope climbing frame thing.

Favourite Son once again conquers the fucker like it isn’t even a big deal and once more his elder sister gets about half-way up and shits herself. As I would. It’s bloody HIGH.

Favourite Daughter: [Again] How come he’s not scared but I’m older?

Me: Because you’re older sweetie-pie. FS is too little to know it’s dangerous. But you’re older and cleverer and know that it is. That’s why.

Favourite Daughter gives me a spontaneous hug.

Hah. Eat that Lone Dad.

I look around. He’s nowhere to be seen. This being real life and not a silly blog there is no chance of the same smug twat being around to see me actually get it right for once.

And it’s only taken me three months to figure out what the right answer was.


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Me: No, Grant From Work, there is no way I am dancing. Forget it. I dance, people get hurt. I don’t need the grief.

We are at A Function. Myself and eight hundred colleagues. I am being hassled to dance.

Grant From Work: LOOK AT IT TIRED! There’s not one bloke on the dancefloor! It’s a minge-pit!

I’m attending because I have to. It’s some sort of charity thing to do with cancer or something and apparently we’re going to cure some woman someone knows if we all attend this thing.

She’ll die anyway but if we get the cash together she might not die so soon.

Grant From Work: If you don’t get in the minge-pit, you’ll never have the minge! Let’s have the minge!

Thing is, she has young children. The treatment we’re raising money for might prolong her life for a few years.

Me: Look, Grant From Work. I can’t dance, I injure people. Go away.

Grant From Work: Me and you Tired. Me and you are going to make twats of ourselves and get in the minge-pit.

I don’t really want to go in the ‘minge-pit’. To be frank, I don’t even like the sound of the 'minge-pit'. It makes me think of that desert scene in Return of the Jedi.

At the end of the evening, we raise £13,000. Enough for two treatments. She’ll live for a bit.

I’m on the dancefloor.

Grant From Work: Tired. Keep your arms down. Actually no. Go and sit down. That’s the second woman you’ve accidently smacked in the face.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Park

Four months ago.

Like any decent parent, I have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the parks in my district.

They’re all shit.

But even the shittest will entertain a couple of children under the age of five whilst you keep an eye out for broken pieces of Bacardi Breezer bottles from The Park’s shady night-time persona of Night Club to the area’s thirteen-year-olds.

We’re at the nearest one. There’s a big climbing-frame-type thing, only it’s made of rope and reaches at least twenty foot in the air.

Favourite Son decides to tackle it. He is three now and can do anything. He thinks.

He starts off quite well.

FD: [Beaming at me] I’m a clever boy.

Me: Yes you are.

He takes another step and misses. He is now hanging upside down, clinging on to some rope with the inside of his knees for dear life. His thoughts are not of his imminent demise.

FD: I’m not a clever boy now though.

Me: Yeah you are.

I right him, and hope that his thoughts will not always involve impressing me over his personal safety.

He cracks on with it. And is doing quite well.


Fair enough. He’s gotten higher on the bloody thing at the age of three than I would consider attempting at my age, so he can be whomever he wants.

Five-year-old Favourite Daughter is having none of this. I have seen her out the corner of my eye, steely-eyed and jaw set throughout this exchange. She is not one to be outdone; to have the spotlight taken off her. She leaps on the climbing frame.

FD: I’m Batman!

She starts climbing. And then stops for a moment.

FD: Em. Actually. I’m Catwoman!

I am much happier with this.

Favourite Daughter also slips and is soon hanging upside down.

FD: I’m Scaredy Catwoman. Daddy. Help.

Whilst admiring her comedic ability I get her down, at considerable risk to my own safety.

Favourite Son is now twenty foot above me informing the entire district of his secret identity. I hope that a) the Daily Planet or whatever don’t get wind otherwise his anonymous Superhero days are numbered and b) he doesn’t get in trouble because there’s no way I’m going up there to get him. A man could break his neck falling off that thing.

FD: How come he’s so brave but I’m older?

Me: Because he’s a boy sweetheart.

I suddenly see a forty-year cavern of female neuroses open before her.

Me: No. Nononono. Not that boys are intrinsically BRAVER than girls, they’re just a bit, you know, they don’t really think –

I notice another lone Dad laughing at me.

Lone Dad: You’re digging a hole mate.

Fuck off Lone Dad.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Phone Rings.

Something will have to be done about this, I think to myself. The ringtone on my mobile is one that mimics a ‘real’ phone, the ones with the circular dials. This is to let people know that I am not a ‘prick’ whenever my phone rings, which is rarely.

It is however, quite alarming, as it was originally designed to be. When I was a child, a ringing phone was a thing of great importance, and not the tiresome everyday occurrence it is now.

The unexpected call is not helped by the fact that as it is a weekend, my phone is in the front pocket of my jeans and not the breast pocket of my suit. As such the ‘vibrate’ function that I am unable to turn off has an alarming effect upon my testicles.

It is 11.15pm. No one who knows me would dream of ringing me at this hour. And people who do not know me would not have my number. Something is badly wrong.

Nerves and testicles jangling, I fish the phone out of my pocket.

‘Granddad’ informs the display.

My grandfather is 93, is 95% blind, the Parkinson’s and the arthritis are not doing him any favours and I am of the opinion that he is not phoning me for shits and giggles. He’s usually asleep by 9.00pm.

My nerves are no longer jangling but have formed some sort of jazz troupe.

Me: Hello? Granddad?

Not Granddad At All: This isn’t your Grandfather. I’m WPC Noname of Region Police Force.

I take this in for a split second. A police-type-person is on the phone to me. From the phone line of my Grandfathers home. This cannot be good. She is in his house. And he is not talking. This really isn’t good. In fact, it may be quite bad.

The jazz troupe throw in the towel and are replaced by some dreadful death-metal outfit that make it difficult for me to hear or think.

WPC Noname: I’m here with the fire brigade….

The death-metal dudes sling it as well and are replaced with a massive wall of white noise. I am reliably informed at this stage that I have turned rather white myself.

Me: [Very good in a crisis] Gargle wfhbfb.

WPC N: What?

Me: I said gargle grfrbjf.

36 hours later.

Granddad: Frankly, I’m glad they’re all gone.

He’s been beset with visitors since the fire, has enjoyed the fuss of the nurses at the General Hospital and is now getting a bit pissed off and fancies some time to himself.

Granddad: What I mean to say, it’s been grand to see you all, but all at once is a bit……Durham Cathedral really is quite something don’t you know. If you are by the river… I used to row by there… my university days you understand…..

Me: I know Granddad. I think you might have just said. I’ve bought plenty of milk……

Granddad: Lovely to see you all but just……Well. I woke up this morning and PEOPLE were already in my house. Dear me.

Me: We were just worried that’s all.

Granddad: Mmmmm.

He pretends to get out a mop to clean the linoleum in the kitchen/snug area that is his only real home, secure in the knowledge that I won’t let him and will do it myself.

Granddad: Your sister usually dries it herself with a towel. On her hands and knees. It takes some time. Perhaps…

He didn’t spend the Second World War sat on a beach in the Seychelles or whatever beach resort (his words) he was stationed at perfecting his skills in the Catering Corps to be cleaning his own floors himself.

I mop up the soot from the earlier visits of my mother, brothers and sister. On my hands and knees.

Me: I must go. Is there anything else at all I can do?

There isn’t.

I want to tell him how important he’s always been to me. What a tremendous failure I sometimes think I am, how bad I always feel, how I’ve let down every person important to me.

He has shirts he needs to iron for no occasion.

He opens the door to the living room for me.

Granddad: I’ll open the door but I can’t look myself.

He no longer has a living room.

He kept most things in there. He was a voracious reader before his eyesight went. As an art teacher he was a prolific artist himself. He was a traveller, a lover of music. Everything he loved and created was in that room.

It’s not there anymore.
Go to newer posts