Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Traditional Christmas in Sunny Plymouth

A very traditional Christmas was had here in Sunny Plymouth this year.

A: The central heating boiler packed up
B: My wife hated all the presents I bought for her
C: All of my presents were too small and didn’t fit (apart from the alcohol)

Yes as predicted by a million TV ads our central heating boiler stopped working on Christmas Eve. I firmly believe that the last time we had it maintained, (around August time) the heating engineer had fitted a small radio controlled device to one of the key parts that would, on a pre arraigned signal, render the boiler inoperable.

While the guy was here in August he had already pointed out that the boiler was in fact obsolete, placed illegally in the kitchen and that flue was also in the wrong place. What we had to do was, buy a new boiler, dismantle the kitchen, put the new one where the cupboards now were, bang a hole through the wall for the new flue and buy a new kitchen to fit around the new replaced boiler. Never the less he gave it a quick dust, fitted the terminator device and left.

So now there we were with an obsolete boiler that wasn’t working on Christmas Eve – perfect!

But help was at hand, I had had the foresight to respond to the million TV ads, (subliminal marketing hey?) and take out the gas boiler insurance with British Gas and by 9:30 Christmas Eve morning there was an engineer replacing a sensor bringing warmth and the ability to have a hot shower before Santa visited to our happy home.

Yes but not for long, come Christmas Day we excitedly unwrapped our presents, and although I has spent time and effort thinking about what to buy my wife, she hated every thing I had bought for her, except for the watch. I had scoured ebay for interesting and exciting presents, like a Diamond (synthetic) tennis bracelet, which I thought were very fashionable at the moment, diamond ear rings (once again synthetic laboratory diamonds which really do look nice and sparkly and aren’t in themselves particularly cheap – but she does also have real diamond earrings I hasten to add) and a very nice skirt bought from M&S which she said she liked when she was trying them on! So I thought at least I was on to a winner on that - duh I'm just a man hey.

Likewise she had bought me a number of nice, trendy fashionable tops, each of them purporting to be my size. Liars liars pants on fires, they were all too small. Unless, of course, these fashionable items are meant to be worn so tight that they actually restrict ones breathing. Maybe its because the men they use for models in the sweat shops of Tiawan are L for Tiawanese men, but are mere dwarfs when measured against us manly men here in the UK?

Also can someone tell me why while the actual item seemed normal enough, despite being on the small size, all of the arms were of the length that would have more suited an orang-utan! The arms of these garments were a good four inches longer than my arms actually were, so I stood there like a largish boy wearing his smaller but older brothers hand me downs with the arms dangling down somewhere near my knees. It was ridiculous, if this is high fashion well called me an old fuddy duddy for wanting the cuffs of my clothing to end somewhere near my wrists!

So my friends a traditional Christmas was had by all and we will continue this tradition by today supporting the annual Christmas Edition of Swap Shop by joining the hundreds of other disgruntled spouses returning unwanted gifts to the shops in town – bliss!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings.

Heres a little gift for you all. If you go here you will get the full sized image which you can print and spend hours of pleasure colouring in and folding when you are tired of looking at your new socks and pants (boys) cooking pots and inappropriate sex toys (girls) that you have recieved from your partners, boy/girlfriends, husbands and wives.

I do hope that you all have a good time, enjoy being with your family if possible and if not I send you and everyone else

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Posted by Picasa The Chicken Nativity

more bad nativities here

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Have a Happy E-Christmas -Bah Humbug!

This past week I have delivered my Christmas cards to my work colleagues. This involved buying the cards, for a modest outlay of £1.99 I bought a small pack of 25 cards from Oxfam, spending a short amount of time, say 30 minutes writing them and walking them down to the inboxes to put them in the mail trays.

This activity, involved some of my time and my money, I even invested some emotion in the filling in of the cards, even if that emotion consisted of me writing, ‘Happy Christmas’ Hope you have a good one, Rob’ on the inside of the card. The recipients received something tangible from me.

I would hope that the festive picture on the front of the card and the message within would, for a moment or two, give them a warm fuzzy feeling that I, just a work colleague, was wishing them well for the season. They could hold it, look at it and perhaps, prop it up next to their computer, or even take it home to add to the other cards decorating their house.

What I seem to be receiving though is the new phenomenon of e-cards.

I find these e-cards pretty impersonal and almost insulting. They tend to be little more than a quick electronic wave to a multitude of recipients, i.e. those of us who populate the electronic address book of the sender.

The tone of the card is often one of jollity and fun with the sender trying to excuse their laziness with witty remarks and the message that instead of sending cards, they’ll be donating the money to charity. Well so did I by buying my cards via a charity shop, even if it was only £1.99, but I also invested my greeting with a bit of me, a bit of emotion, a bit of humanity not an electronic ghost of who I’d like to be pretending that I am being altruistic and thinking about the poor people an all.

But that’s Christmas all over isn’t it?

I’ve got a headache!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bloomin Christmas meme

Jamie on bloomin 10 signs like this has tagged me with a meme entitled 'List seven songs you are into right now'

Heres mine:

1. I wish it could be Christmas everyday – Wizzard
2. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas – Bing Crosby
3. Here it is merry Christmas –Slade
4. Frosty the Snowman – The Ronettes
5. Santa Claus is coming to town – The Shangri Las
6. Don’t stop the cavalry –Jona Lewi
7. Jingle bells – anyone who can get away with it

Just bloomin because I can't get out of bloomin earshot of all of these bloomin songs, every bloomin shop, every bloomin radio station, every bloomin music tv show I can get on my bloomin limited cable service are bloomin well playing these, and they get into your bloomin head and then you find yourself bloomin whistling them or bloomin singing along, bloomin foot tapping madness arrrgghhh.

I tag bloomin Mike da hat, Gemmack, Vitriolica, simply clare and Drjoolz that is if you are bloomin reading this.

Friday, December 16, 2005

10 Things Not To Do At Christmas

1. Open the door to the chav carol singers as they will only be casing the joint., have a handy bowl of boiling oil(add a stick or two of cinnamon for that festive aroma) simmering by the front bedroom window to help them ‘ding dong merrily on high’

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2. Don’t take pictures of your kids doing anything this Christmas and then send them off to SupaSnaps because you will probably be getting a visit from a tall dark stranger over the New Year, an officer from the pervert squad down the local nick!

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3. Stay away from Scotsmen and women until about the 10th January (I have followed this advice since being ‘chatted up’ by a drunken Scots woman in a chip bar in Johannesburg on New Years Eve, I have fond memories of her whisky breath, her rum and black ‘moustache’ and the deep fried haggis she was spitting all over me)

4. Do not give an extra quid to the Big Issue salesmen just because its Christmas, he’ll/she’ll only go and waste it on more designer clothing – what has happened to the tradition of raggedy, smelly, drunken, Dickensian beggars at Christmas? Have they no sense of the traditional?

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5. Buy your husband, boyfriend, significant other an aquarium, unless you are 100% sure that he has asked for one (I speak from sad experience – it still smarts)

6. Buy your wife, girlfriend, significant other anal lubrication gel unless you are 100% sure that she has asked for it (It will smart and you might be spending a lonely Christmas day eve on the couch)

7. Invite your Muslim friends around for a non secular Christmas Lunch, roast turkey will all the trimmings, inc Pork sausage meat stuffing…..

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8. Tell your wife that instead of the fur coat, pearls, BMW Mini she desperately wanted this Christmas, you have bought her a herd of goats for a village in the middle of Africa (see the final sentence of #6 above! But you will still feel good about it, although lonely)
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9. Do not, after the office party, go on to the ‘club’ with your younger colleagues, the chances are you’ll make a fool of yourself by (A) getting drunker and doing ‘Dad or Mum’ dances on the dance floor, (B) getting drunk and thinking the blonde office assistant is making eyes at you so you make an advance only to be made a fool of in front of all your colleagues or s/he might take you up on it and shag you stupid in the bogs. (C) Some one will spike your drink with Rohypnol and you will wake up shagged stupid in the Gents toilets.
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10. Do not cover your house with lights and festive Homers it only encourages the Americans, who after all can’t even do Christmas properly as they only have one day’s holiday. Hence the term Happy Holidays – the holidays being Christmas Day and New Years Day – and as a term is probably up there with Happy Xmas!

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Happy Holidays

This weekend I did something that was so humiliating, so shameful, so mortifying I can’t even bring myself to tell you about it, not even for humorous effect. Suffice it to say it was something to do with ‘the thing that I cannot tell you about’ (that’s happening tomorrow) well not yet and certainly not in a public forum and it was something to do with the last but one post.

I can tell you before you start anonymously tipping off the authorities that animals, vegetables, children and geriatrics were not involved (although I didn’t look at the packaging and the ingredients list too closely!).

My only defence is this matter is the standard one of ‘I’m innocent mlud, my wife made me do it’. And she did, honest, she made me do this thing which is shameful and humiliating and shouldn’t happen to a 50 something year old man, who has still retained his dashing good looks, wit, charm and intelligence but has, ahem, shall we say, lost a bit of definition around the central area.

It seems to me that women can do this sort of stuff and nobody ever gives it a second glance or even mentions it in polite conversation. But god forbid should a man attempt to do it, even behind the locked and barred bathroom doors, well all sorts of insinuations are made, should it become public knowledge.

(A note of clarification here – this post is nothing to do with my earlier post about losing my ‘mojo’! Get it, got it, good!)

Nevertheless it is done now and I have to live with the knowledge for the rest of my life, or at least until Alzheimer’s kicks in, which given what I did, shouldn’t be too long in coming.

Another thing what puzzles me, apart from my own behaviour, is why o why o why do parents take their kids Christmas shopping and allow them, not only to pick their Christmas presents, but allow them to carry them home as well?

I was in Town this Saturday, and yes it was hell. But it was my weekend with my 6 yr old daughter Matilda and I wanted to take her in to show her the lights and to go on the old fashioned carousel and the largest big portable big wheel in Europe (second go) and eat free cheese and cakes etc in the Christmas farmers market, and eat chestnuts that had been roasted on an open barbecue, and drink Hot Gluwine in the German market and drink Hot Chocolate with marshmallows and flakes and whipped cream, and look at the lights, and go on the other rides, and watch the street performers, and the salvation army band and all that stuff that makes Christmas shopping fun.

Except for the parents who let their children choose their presents and buy them in front of them and let them carry them. Where is their sense of Christmas? I don’t mean their religious sense, but the magical one. The one where the children start to get excited because they don’t know what they are getting, that sense of expectation, the writing of notes to Santa, the hope in their faces, the wishing, the mystery, the surprise. Where’s all that?

Is it just that these parents can’t be arsed and all they want to do is stuff their faces silly, get pissed on cheap sherry and mong out in front of the TV on Christmas Day while their kids play with something they’ve had for two weeks already and that some sort of symbolic wrapping and unwrapping may have happened in the morning but at the end of the day who gives a fuck?

I love surprises (note to Simply Clare) and hate knowing what I want for Christmas, if someone asks me I will always say just get me a surprise, it doesn’t have to be big or expensive, just perhaps something you have put a little thought into, they are always the best presents. (Although the exception to the rule was the aquarium one of the past wives bought me, I had to exchange it for a pair of Dr Marten Boots! Yes it was a surprise as I can't ever remember saying how much I would like one, which she assured me I did!)

I can still remember lying in my bed as a kid and feeling the weight of the sack or the stocking on the end of my bed and in the early morning chill of Christmas sitting there unwrapping my presents, how wonderful is that, and then later, after breakfast we would all sit down and Dad would hand out the presents, one by one, each waiting and watching the unwrapping, no mad rush, no free for all, just the family together enjoying the surprises.

And then later when I was a Dad watching the surprise and enjoyment on the faces of the kids, who didn’t know what they were getting, as they unwrapped their presents. Each and every present had been bought in secret and stashed in secret places. And then on Christmas eve we would wrap them up and of course two hours later when the kids woke up and come rushing into the bedroom all excited to wake us up, because Santa had been, watch them unwrap the presents in their stocking, having to feign surprise as each item is unwrapped to cries of joy.

And for the bigger presents like bikes, little subtefuges would be played out, like getting the children outside to look at something while the other parent wheeled the bike into the room and placed it under the tree, and the joy and the surprise when the child comes into the room is almost too much to bear (I’m filling up, just thinking about it).

So Parents, please do not take your children with you when you buy their presents, listen to them through oout the year, listen to what they say as Christmas gets closers, maybe have a chat with them about what they want Santa to bring, get them to write Santa a letter for goodness sake, then you might have a good idea about what to buy them, its about putting yourself out a little to make Christmas a great family time.

(Please note that this blog in no way supports, confirms or in any way affirms the over commercialised Christmas and in particular the over use of fairy lights, climbing Santa’s, festive Homers (duh?), flashing snowmen, (no cheap jokes here please) sparkly icicles, red nose flashing reindeer, and the million and one other tacky and cheap Christmas accoutrements people pin on their homes and themselves, I lay the blame firmly at the feet of the Americans – happy holidays Glenn and family!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blog Story - Blog Novel - Blog Adventure


Heres telling you of a great new blog adventure going on here. Its all Vitriolica's idea of getting a disparate group of bloggers to each write a chapter to a blog novel plus various blog illustrators will be illustrating the chapters. See Vits idea here

I'm down for chapter 9 Chapter 1 is up already and its a crackiing start!!

See whos doing what here


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hairdresser Rage

Oh the ignominy, O the shame, O the disgrace!

Today I was thrown out of the hairdressers! I mean as a sentence it doesn’t even make sense does it. I wasn’t drunk or tripping out of my head. I wasn’t naked or making lewd remarks to the usually delightful haircutting maidens. I’d had a shower just this morning so my body odour was under control. I hadn’t been struck down suddenly by Torrette’s syndrome and was swearing uncontrollably, I wasn’t walking around ringing a bell shouting unclean unclean while rashers of my body fell off in a medieval fashion. I…well you get the picture.

No it’s just that this lunch time I popped into the hairdressers, the one I usually go to, as I needed a haircut. For some undisclosed reason (at the moment - answers on a postcard) I needed to get my luscious locks trimmed to something resembling a proper haircut. So I wandered in asked if they could accommodate my head this lunch time and they answered in the affirmative. So I sat until a young chavette (bling in the teeth – a dead give a way) came up and tousled my hair asking me what I wanted, big boy!. (I added the last bit for comedic effect as if you didn’t know!)

Now normally for a middle aged guy like me this doesn’t happen so often so I told her what I wanted. I explained in real English, not some made up language like American (Hi Glenn and family!) what I wanted her to do with my hair. I told her why I need it short (need to know basis at the moment) she looked at me blankly. I demonstrated by lifting my hair and pulling it back into a representation of what it should look like.

Clearly her hairdressing manual (Haircutting for Dummies) had not prepared her for the task I set before her i.e. take my unruly, long, flowing, curly, dark, romantic renaissance type hair and turn it into something short, smart and manageable but without making me look like an SAS reject or a gormless plonker!(difficult I know)

She gazed into the mirror the ‘diamond’ in her tooth glinting, this seemed to be the only spark of life she had in her head. She wandered off and another long willowy girl came to wash my hair. ‘No’ I said ‘I don’t want conditioner because it will all be off in a minute’. But I guess it would have looked nice and shiney as it floated to the floor. Anyway after a quick towelling, I sat and waited for about 5 minutes while the Vicky Pollard clone yakked into her mobile in the staff room.

She came back and once again I tried to tell this hairdresser, if I can call her that as I have no evidence, she could have been the owners long lost daughter for all I knew, what I wanted done. Now that my hair was wet, it sort of approximated the style I wanted – the dashing, modern and trendy middle aged man. I tired again by pointing at my head and the mirror image of me in the mirror that this is sort of what it should look like. She still looked at me gormlessly. 'You mean you want it long and brushed back, not short like you said before?' she said.
I looked at myself in the mirror, a worried man was looking back at me, he shook his head, I knew what he wanted me to do. I had to leave NOW before the damage was done.

The confidence had drained out of me, I knew if I stayed in the chair I would walk out looking like I’d just spent 6 years before the mast in a raging force 10 gale, on the Dead Sea (the saltiest sea image what it does to your hair) with no shampoo, no conditioner and a walrus tusk to use as a comb. So I told her that I wasn’t confident that she knew what she was doing and I wasn’t going to let her cut my hair. I though I was being terribly brave as well, I mean she was a woman and she had scissors in her hand – visions of John Wayne Bobbett appeared before me.

But no sooner had I stood up than the owner himself appeared and ordered me off his premises saying I should have given her a chance. So I have a sneaking suspicion that young Vicky was his daughter trying her hand or either a trainee or a new employee straight from college, perhaps she’s done a distance learning course that hadn’t involved talking customers requirements over with them first to make sure both parties knew what they were getting. Perhaps she'd practised on one of those dolls heads, the ones that look like Toyah Wilcox on speed.

I left with my head held high and my uncut locks damply streaming behind me. I soon found a more obliging hairdressers, who for half the price of the first have done a really good job and the young woman who cut my hair had no problems understanding what I wanted even though she had her belly hanging out, well not hanging but nicely on show, which was a relief as I though that somehow I had got up stupid this morning (a thesis somewhat supported by the fact that at 9a.m. this morning my computer pinged and told me that I had to be in a School which was 20 miles away in 15 minutes, suffice it to say I had to ring them and claim that my leg had fallen off overnight and I was just waiting for the glue to set and that was why I couldn’t be there in the next 10 minutes – I think they believed me).

But hey how many people do you know that can claim that they too have been thrown out of the hairdressers?