Category: Me me me (page 1 of 2)

Being a menace

I took the mutt out for her evening drag, last night.

It had just got dark. In fact, with no cloud cover and a half-moon, it was very dark indeed.

And bloody cold.

We took a common walk through the park and alongside the woods.

I carry a small laser pen with me when I walk Saber at night, as she likes to chase the bright red dot up and down the path. Easy exercising for me!

As we walked along the unlit path, heading toward the woods, I noticed three others walking along another path, that intersected with ours. They were easy to spot, as they each carried a torch and were talking loudly and excitedly.

I quickly realised that we were on a collision course and would meet at the intersection at the same time… which I didn’t want, as I’d have to put the dog back on her leash.

I could walk a bit quicker and get in front of them… but then they would be close behind us. Again, I didn’t want that as they would be a distraction and Saber and I like to walk along in peace and quiet.

And so, I decided to let them get in front so that we drop back a reasonable distance.

Saber and I came off the path and walked up to the treeline of the woods, where I stopped and waited for them to pass by. As I said, it was very dark and I was wearing dark clothing, so they wouldn’t even know I was there.

I stood and waited as they made their way up the path, swinging their torches as they went. Two small beams lower down and a very bright one higher up, had me guessing that it was an adult with two children, It wasn’t long before they were in earshot and I was proved right: a mother and her two kids, all out playing with their shiny new torches.

I stood stock-still in the shadows; my hands pulled up into my coat sleeves and my shoulders hunched against the cold. “Just bloody hurry up, willya”, I muttered.

They stopped and started swinging their torches again. The very bright one, from the adult, made its way along the treeline and dazzled me slightly as it passed. And then it swung back and centred on me.  I’d been spotted.

I stood there motionless, muttering quietly under my breath: “Oh, just fuck off will you. Go away”.  The light stayed on me for about thirty seconds, but I couldn’t quite hear what was being said as they had lowered their voices. I doubted they could see the dog, as she was a few feet behind me, sniffing in the bushes.

Eventually the light swung away and they moved on.  I waited a minute before following, but when I got back on the path, there was no sign of them.

Saber and I continued our walk along the path and when we reached the end, where it joined the road, I put her back on the leash.

We turned left and walked along the pavement.  A police car rounded the corner at speed and headed toward me. He slowed right down and looked at me intensely. I looked straight back at him and smiled. He sped up again and continued down the road.

Hold on! Had I just been reported to the police?

Had Bright-torch phoned them and reported a dark-clad and ominous looking figure lurking in the trees?

Possibly so.

I realised that to them, I probably looked a bit menacing, just standing there… rather like Gort from the film The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Maybe I should have got my laser pen out and really acted the part.

Mother Hubbard

I quite like shopping.

There, I’ve said it.

Out loud.


Of course, that’s only if certain conditions are met:

  1. I’m on my own
  2. I know what I want to get.

Which I usually do.

I always do the weekly food shopping, for instance, and I don’t even mind doing that.

It normally takes me about an hour on a Saturday morning. Unless, for some reason, Mrs M decides she wants to come along. In which case, it’s going to take twice as long.

And cost twice as much.

But, on my own, I can whizz round.  I don’t make a list, I just go up each and every aisle, remembering what I need as I go and grabbing anything that’s on special offer.

I have my regular bit of banter with Hazel and Carole on the Deli counter, and Suzanne knows exactly what to make for me when I approach the pizza section. “The usual? It’ll be ten minutes.”

And if I have time, I’ll start the whole process  with a cup of tea and a toasted teacake in the cafeteria, first.

Shopping. What’s not to like?

Tell me.

Doggy Style

Having a dog again has made a significant difference to my life.

Some good differences and some not so good.

Of course, overall, the good outweighs the bad, or we wouldn’t bother having a dog.

Just like with kids, I s’pose.

There are the negatives:

  • like having to take her out for a walk twice a day, whatever the weather
  • or not being able to go out visiting people so much, because we always “have to get back for the dog”
  • or being woken in the early hours because she’s growling at someone who had the temerity to just walk past the house
  • or every coat that I own having all the pockets permanently stuffed with poo bags

But there are also positives:

  • like taking her out for a walk twice a day –  if it wasn’t for that, I’d probably just be lounging on the sofa watching telly 
  • or not being able to visit people – sometimes that can be a blessing
  • or being woken up because she’s growling – let’s face it, twice she has been proven right
  • or every coat that I own… actually, I haven’t found a positive for that one yet.

Yesterday, I drove like a twat!

This week has been school half term and, as such, I was fully expecting the roads to be much emptier than usual.

I was fully expecting my commute to and from work, to be a doddle. Because it normally is when the schools are off.

But not this week. Oh no: this week, the roads have been as bad as usual.

Nay. Nay. And thrice nay, I tell you, the roads have actually been worse!

The mornings have been slow and torturous, thanks to broken down lorries and accidents. 

But the evenings have been worse. Much worse.

No word of a lie, every night this week, I have been caught up in stationary traffic on my way home, thanks to accidents on the motorway.





Some have been worse than others. Tuesday night was pretty bad, thanks to a lorry shedding its load of portloos across the M25.  That was quite possibly a real case of the shit hitting the van.

But yesterday evening was truly awful.  Stuck in stationary traffic for ages at the Hemel junction, I found myself starting to get frustrated.  I spend so much time in traffic nowadays, that I’m kind of used to it now and it’s like water off a duck’s back. But, being stuck in stationary traffic for the fourth day in a row, meant it was starting to get to me. Please God, just one day! Just let me have one decent journey home!

Eventually, things started moving again and we all slowly crawled past the five-car shunt that was surrounded by the flashing blue and red lights of the emergency services and in unison we all shouted “Learn to drive, you bastards!”
Well, I shouted it.
In unison with myself.

I have rarely felt so frustrated and I decided to put some music on.  Normally, a bit of Mozart or Bruckner will smooth the waters for me, but, so pent-up was I, I needed something with a bit more oomph. I needed to let it out.

Once past the accident, the road was clear. I put on some AC/DC, turned the volume up and put my foot down; singing at the top of my voice. Well, I call it singing, but it was more like shouting really.

At junction 11, the end of the slip road divides into three lanes. Two are for turning left and the third is for going straight on or for turning right. They are marked accordingly. But, very often, impatient drivers will get into the middle lane and then cut across to turn right, forcing the vehicle in the right hand lane to give way or risk hitting them. It happens to me quite often and normally I will let them in, just to avoid having a prang in my car. “Tsk”, I’ll say.

But, it happened again last night and this time I didn’t give way.  My still pent-up frustration, boiled over into anger and -fuelled by Brian Johnson screaming at me that I was Back In Black – I refused to let this opportunist get eight feet in front of me.  But, having flown down the middle lane at speed, he had a speed advantage on the roundabout and I was ultimately forced to brake and let him in. 

Where normally I would have tutted and let it go, this time I let him know he was a twat. I flashed my lights at him and then I followed him round the roundabout at speed, just a couple of feet off his rear bumper. We headed up the short stretch of dual carriageway at a quick pace and then took the first left turning.  Still I hung onto his tail lights. We blatted down the road together, completely ignoring the 20mph speed limit… until I suddenly realised what I was doing. This bloke was driving like a complete twat, but I was too.

I slowed down and let him speed off down the road. He was probably chuffed with himself for having left me behind, but I didn’t care.

I turned the music down, slowed to within the speed limit and took a deep breath.

My first ever bit of road rage. 

I didn’t like it.

Ringing in the changes

It’s that time again.

It has been two years since I got my current mobile phone and the contract runs out next month.

Now, I am on the Three network which, whilst it has been quite reliable, just hasn’t quite offered the coverage that I get with Vodafone on my company mobile.

And so, I am thinking about jumping ship to another provider, despite having been with Three for a number of years.

And my Sony Xperia phone has been as solid as a rock for the past two years. I’m still very happy with it and would happily stick with it, really.


Except it is two years old and the battery is knackered. And you can’t just change the battery, because the phone is sealed, because it’s waterproof.

And besides. It’s two years old and I suppose I fancy a change.

But, this is the bit I don’t like, because now I have to choose a new phone and there are just so many out there now to choose from (not including Apple, of course, because… it’s Apple).

And once I have chosen my replacement – which should be easy in theory, considering my minimum requirements – I then have the rubbish task of choosing a network to go with.

Again, that should be easy, because they are all the same.

Well, nearly.

Finally though, it’s the confusing and time-consuming task of choosing a package to suit my needs, without it costing the earth each month.

I think I want unlimited minutes, 4GB of data and 12 texts.

Or maybe I want unlimited minutes, unlimited data and 14 texts.

But, y’know, looking at my current usage, I can probably save money and get away with just 200 mins, 500MB of data and 10 texts.

I just don’t know.

What I do know though, is that hours of surfing the net and scouring mobile phone websites, lies ahead of me, before I lose the will to live and eventually just walk into Carphone Whorehouse and let Johnny No Stars talk me into a package I’ll inevitably regret later on.


The erudite Mr Jones mentioned in a post earlier, of how much he enjoys taking his morning tea back to bed with him.

I think he has also mentioned previously, the joy of having breakfast in bed.

You are sadly mistaken, my friend.

Many claim this as an enjoyable little luxury, but does anyone really enjoy having breakfast in bed?


You know already that I don’t!

I’ve never seen the attraction.

Firstly, I don’t see how sitting upright in bed, propped up with pillows and balancing a bowl of Rice Krispies – other breakfast cereals are available –  can be more comfortable than sitting in a chair at the dining room table. Let’s face it, it’s not.

And then there’s the tray – if you have one. Again, balancing a tray containing a bowl of cereal and/or toast; a cup of tea/coffee; a glass of juice etc, isn’t easy. One wrong move – a sudden burst of hiccups – and it’s all over your 10 tog, duck-feather duvet – of course, other tog values are available.

Then there are the crumbs – especially if you have toast.  Doesn’t matter how careful you are, there will be crumbage. Which you won’t find until you get back into bed later that evening, when it will feel like half of Yarmouth beach is in bed with you – other, stonier, British beaches are available.

So please, tell me, where’s the luxury in that?

Or am I missing something.

Nothing on the telly

Working – as I do – alongside people of a younger generation, I’m constantly reminded of just how fucking old I am.

I was chatting with one such millennial the other day, and he was saying about how he was thinking of getting Sky TV, because he was a bit of a night owl and there’s not much on the thirty-or-so terrestrial (Freeview) channels after midnight.

He was genuinely taken aback when I told him that I could remember when we only had three TV channels: BBC1; BBC2 and ITV and that they would all switch off sometime just after 11pm, after playing the national anthem.

I told him of how – in 1982 – I made a special effort to get home from work early, just so I could watch the launch of Channel 4.  I was so excited at the time: an extra TV channel! This was history in the making.

Of course, nowadays, new TV channels come and go regularly. Some have fleeting lives, lasting only a few months whilst others seem to go on forever, despite the niche audience they are targeted at.

For today’s generations, this is the norm: super-thin flat-screen TVs with a gazillion channels.

But for us old farts, four channels was always enough.

Some would say it still is.

Knowledge Is Power

I don’t mind admitting that, when I was young, I was a bit of a swot.

I loved reading and I loved learning from reading.

Even if I were reading a storybook (a novel, in adult parlance), I would generally learn something. 

About the world.

About nature.

About humanity.


Many times, I would just learn a new word. I loved learning new words and would often take two books to bed with me: a novel and a dictionary – so I could look up any words I didn’t understand.

It’s no idle boast that as a young teenager, I easily had the largest vocabulary in my family.

My parents bought me a small set of encyclopaedias – I remember they had purple covers – and they took pride of place on my bookshelf.  I’m pretty sure that I read them from cover to cover more than once, over the years.

On a Saturday, I would go into town on the bus and would spend a happy couple of hours in the Town Library… just reading anything that took my fancy or – more often than not – looking up something that I’d heard or read about and just felt I needed to know more.

Once I started work, I never had the time so much, to go into the library. More than that, my thirst for knowledge became more immediate: if I wanted to know about something, I wanted to know about it now! And so, I spent over a thousand pounds on a set of Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

A beautiful set of books and, undoubtedly, the best repository of knowledge that money could buy… at the time.

I kept them for years.

And then Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web.

A game changer.

In an amazingly short period of time, all the major knowledge houses had their encyclopaedias or dictionaries and the like, online. Even Microsoft got in on the act with it’s own encyclopaedia: Encarta, which, to be fair, was really very good.

And then, of course, we got Wikipedia – another game changer… because it was free.

Nowadays, just about anything you want to know (and at any time you want to know it), is available somewhere online. For free. It’s bloody fantastic!

And, at Amelia’s Parent’s Evening, last night, the teachers were extolling the virtues of several websites, aimed specifically at helping kids with their education, by providing online, extra-curricular lessons and teaching.

Wow! If I’d had all this when I was their age, maybe I would have done better at school than I did.

Maybe I’d have gone on to university and made a huge success of my life.

Or maybe I’d have been a winner on The Chase.

From a Great Height Part 2

A few years later – somewhere around 1989/90 – the same thing happened again: a chap at work brought in a leaflet and said that we should all do a parachute jump as a team, for charity.

Now, at the time, I had a bit of rivalry going on with Pat. He was always trying to outdo me at work – completing more surveys; finishing the job a bit quicker, that sort of thing. And I was doing the same to him. It started as friendly rivalry, but developed a bit of a harsh edge as the months passed.

It also didn’t help that we were both vying for the affections of the same girl in the office: Liz.

Liz was intelligent, easy to talk to and – being a former beauty contestant winner – was as pretty as they come.

She was also up for a challenge, so she put her name down for the parachute jump. Having already done one, I put put my name down too, without hesitation.  Not wanting to lose face in front of me or Liz, Pat also signed up, despite obviously being as nervous as hell about it.

When the time came, we went to the airfield and -as I had done before – spent the whole of Saturday learning the correct way to fall out of an aeroplane.

It was a bright Sunday morning, as we lined up on the airfield, wearing all our kit and caboodle. We had been told in training that the last person on the plane would be first to jump, and so I made an effort to get in the line before Pat. I wanted him to jump before me, because I knew he was bricking it and I wanted to see the horror on  his face when it was his turn to jump.

The jump-master made his way along the line, checking that each of us had strapped on our parachutes correctly. When he got to me, he stopped and gave my chute a good checking over. “How much do you weigh?” he asked, looking me up and down. I told him. “You need a bigger chute”, he said matter-of-factly, “Double over to the chute-hut and get another.”

I legged it over to the large barn that stored all the parachutes and plonked my one on the counter. “I need a bigger one”, I said.

“That’s the biggest we do”, said the chap behind the counter. “You’ll have to have a cargo chute”.

“A cargo chute? Will that be OK?”

He nodded and so I grabbed it and ran back to the plane, where everybody was now on board, waiting for me. The jump-master helped me on with my chute and bundled me on board the waiting aircraft, where I had to squeeze in at the back.

On my first jump, a few years earlier, we went up in a small 6-seater (with the seats removed) and when it was time to jump, you sat in the doorway with your legs outside and pushed yourself out when you were ready.  This plane was much larger and held about 15 people (older readers may remember seeing it, as it featured as part of an advert for the Abbey National back then) and the back was open, so you just stepped out and dropped. A very different kettle of fish: a worserer kettle of fish!

“You ready?” asked the jump-master.

I stood up in position and found Liz’ face amongst all the crash helmets staring back at me. She gave me a little smile of encouragement.

And then I saw Pat, grinning at me like a loon. He was loving that I had to go first.

The jump-master tapped me on the shoulder: my cue.

I gave Pat a wry smile, turned, and without hesitation, stepped out of the door.


Like a seasoned pro.

On the ground, I gathered up my chute, and looked up to my colleagues who were still falling from the sky.  I kind of hoped that Pat would have bottled it, but he didn’t. No-one did: everybody made the jump and there were no injuries.

Apart from Liz, who twisted her ankle upon landing. 

Stuart- the storeman – helped her hobble back to the training area and took her chute in for her.

They started dating the following weekend.

From A Great Height Part1

A few years ago (well, 1985 to be precise), me and three mates decided to do a parachute jump.

It was Rob’s idea. We were seated in the cafè, one Saturday morning, when he showed us a leaflet. “I found this”, he said, excitedly. “You get to do a free parachute jump if you raise sixty quid for charity. I reckon we should do it”.

We discussed it for a while and agreed that, although it was a somewhat scary thing to do, it would give us plenty of kudos amongst our peers and would make us look cool in front of girls (none of us had a serious girlfriend at the time).

We booked a date a few months in advance and once the sponsorship forms came in, I set about collecting as much money as possible. £120 needed to be raised: 60 for the jump and the remainder to the charity… which I think was the British Heart Foundation. It didn’t take me long to collect the full amount, I mean, hell: I was going to jump out of a fucking aeroplane!

The date got nearer and then Chris suddenly announced that he wouldn’t be able to do it as – all of a sudden – he had a wedding to go to that weekend.

A few days later, Steve announced that he wouldn’t be able to make it either, because of “… a family matter”.

And finally, a week before the jump, Rob phoned me and told me that he had badly sprained an ankle.


I went on my own and spent a whole Saturday learning how to fall out of a plane:


On Sunday, I jumped.


It was the single most exhilarating thing I’d ever done.

But sadly, my daring exploits didn’t seem to impress the female population very much.

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