Category: People (page 2 of 6)


At last, we can rejoice!

A few years ago, some ne’er-do-wells moved into the close.

Awful people.

Right from the start, they got on everybody’s nerves, by taking up all the available parking with the inordinate number of vehicles they owned.

And the really loud garden parties that went into the small hours.


On weekdays.

Who has a late-night party on a Wednesday, for fuck sake!

And then there was the drug dealing (that we all knew was happening, but which the Police were never able to prove)

And the violence (one of them ended up in gaol recently, for violent assault).

When the For Sale sign went up last year, there was a silent, but palpable excitement that buzzed round the close.

“Have you seen the sign?”

“Yes! Isn’t it great!”

But then the sign came down again and we all went into a sulk.

But then it went up again and it was followed not long after by another sign that said “SOLD”.

My God, we nearly had a street party!

But then the sign came down and we all silently cried into our beer, once more.

But, then it went up again.

This time, we didn’t get our hopes up… there’s only so much heartbreak that thirty-six people and  four dogs can take.

But, they’ve gone: the house is now empty and we are all overjoyed.

Of course, new people will move in at some point and it’s always daunting getting new neighbours but, whoever moves in CANNOT be any worse.



Last night we went to the pictures, to see Alita.

It was alright.

If you like that kind of thing.

On our way home, it was late, and we spotted some activity in the woods where we walk Saber. It was brightly lit up and we could see flashing red and blue lights at the far end.

At our end, a fire engine was parked, partially blocking the roundabout. Mrs M was very excited as we drove past. “Something’s ‘appening”, she said, stating the obvious.

When we got home, she said “I’m just taking the dog out for a quick walk.” I knew where she was going, of course.

So did Amelia. “Wait for me” she said, and they both disappeared out the door.

Harry went up to bed, as did I, but it took a while to get to sleep, as the Police helicopter then arrived and seemed to be hovering almost overhead for about fifteen minutes.

The girls eventually arrived back home and Mrs M woke me as she climbed into bed, freezing bloody cold, and started telling me all about it.

A young woman had gone missing and police suspected she might be in the woods. They had showed Mrs M a picture of the woman, but she didn’t recognise her.

Mrs M reckoned that with both the Police and the Fire Brigade, there must have been about forty people combing through the woods, and Saber apparently had a lovely time, meeting all the German Shepherd police dogs.

We don’t know the outcome: whether they found the woman or not. I’ve looked on the local news this morning, but there’s not a mention of it.

My fingers are crossed that it turns out well.

A lorra lorra lorries

As our Cilla used to paraphrase.

Well, I made it to the conference yesterday.

I left even earlier, just to be on the safe side. However, when I reached the slip road for the M1, there was a big tailback, thanks to four vehicles having a shunt, right at the top of the slip road.

“I don’t belieeeeve it!”, I shouted, turning into Richard Wilson from One Foot In The Grave.

But, once I’d got past it, my journey was OK… I just didn’t arrive quite as early as I’d hoped.

And getting out of Newbury Racecourse was horrendous! Imagine trying to get out of Wembley Arena after a Take That concert, and you won’t be far wrong.

And then the M4 did what the M4 does best – it snarled up.

It was nearly eight pm when I got home.

And today, I have to be in Dartford, bright and early for an 8am meeting.

With the luck I’ve been having on the motorways this week, I really haven’t got a chance!


Yesterday, I was supposed to be at Newbury Racecourse for a conference.  (as I’ve said before, we do love a conference, at the Water Board).

As it was further to go than my usual journey, I left earlier to allow a little extra time… just in case.

Of course, I never made it.

My sat-nav estimated that I would arrive at about 8:30. “Yeah right”, I thought, “we’ll see.” And then my rubbish superpower kicked into action and just ten minutes into my journey up the M1, we ground to a halt.

Then the overhead gantry signs came on to say that there was a 90 minute delay on the M25.

The M25? Gimme a break, I haven’t even got there yet. Can’t blame that one on me!

I turned the radio on and the travel announcer cheerily told me that the jam I was sitting in, was caused by two vans coming together and closing the motorway at Hemel Hempstead.

The jam on the M25 was caused by four lorries and had closed three lanes between junctions 17 and 16.

My overly optimistic sat-nav  changed it’s earlier estimate from 8:30 to 12:30.

The M1 blockage was eventually cleared, but as the M25 one was still in place, I decided to abort and when I got the opportunity, I came off at Hemel, turned round and went home.

Luckily (!), I get another chance as the conference is also on today, so I’m going to have a second attempt.

I’m just hoping I can hold my superpower in.

Friendly February

I mentioned last week about Time To Talk day.

Well, we were given a sheet of things to try to do, to help with our own mental wellbeing, throughout the month.

So far, there have been ten things to try. I think I have succeeded/tried maybe about half of them.

Today’s challenge is to involve others and get them joining in.

So come on, both my readers, join in!

Else, next Monday’s challenge will be particularly difficult.

Although, I must say, I’m not looking forward to the 26th… I’ll probably end up getting my face slapped.

You’ll like this…

I met up with some people from work yesterday, in Reading, and we went on a bit of a pub crawl.

For charity.

I’m not sure how many pubs we visited (I think it was six, maybe), but by the end of the night, it’s safe to say that I was pretty well pissed.

To be honest, I can’t really remember how I found my way back to my hotel room.

But I did.

And I stopped off on the way, to get a burger and chips… by the looks of the detritus in my room this morning.

But one thing I do remember from last night, is magic.

Those of you who read this drivel, will be well aware that I have been a follower of magic and illusions for many, many years. Since I was a teenager, really.

And when I say I follow magic, I don’t just mean that I watch it on the telly. I have learnt how to do several tricks; I have become adept at one or two sleights of hand and I have practiced and practiced until I have got it right.

For years, I have performed a few card tricks and the like, for family and close friends, but I’ve never had the bottle to perform in front of others… in case I make a mess of it or give the game away.

Last night, was a turning point.

At various points throughout the evening, I produced a deck of cards and a couple of other props and performed several tricks in front of about eight or nine people from work.

And I was a hit!

It all went very well.

Apart from the one I fucked up, right at the end.

Mental note to self: after your seventh pint, Masher, put the cards away!


If you didn’t already know, yesterday was national Time To Talk day.

At work, cakes and doughnuts were supplied in the canteen and people were encouraged to come along and chat.

Of course, most people just came along for the confectionary, but several did take the time to discuss their problems with a Mental First Aider.


I just went for a doughnut and a cup of tea.

And then a slice of fruitcake – not very apt for a forum discussing mental issues, I thought.

But all in all, the event seemed well attended and my little counter box with the blue buttons was put into play for the first time and showed that 75% of those who attended, felt it was a worthwhile exercise.

The remaining 25% just wanted more cake.


I was walking the mutt, early yesterday morning, as I usually do.

Her morning walk is on a swathe of grass, just a few minutes away and we take a short-cut to it via an alleyway behind some houses.

As we walked toward the alley yesterday, I could hear voices, and as we turned into it, I found the passageway blocked by two 14 year-old boys, on their bikes, with their orange newspaper delivery bags slung around their necks. One held a packet of tobacco and some Rizlas, whilst the other was trying to roll a couple of fags.

As soon as they saw us, they stood aside to let us pass.

I said nothing as we squeezed through, but I gave them a most disparaging look.

I’ve always hated smoking. Hated it with a passion.

It has never appealed to me and I’ve always wondered what the appeal actually is, that makes someone want to start smoking.

It might have looked cool (to a degree) in the old days, but I don’t think anyone thinks that nowadays.

Back in the very old days, of course, people actually believe smoking could cure all manner of illnesses, but in these more enlightened times we know that is definitely not the case.  In fact, it’s the reverse: smoking has been proven to be the cause of many an ailment.

Smoking Kills. It even says so on the packets!

And it smells. It makes your breath smell and it makes your clothes smell.

On top of all that, it costs a bloody fortune. I’m told a packet of twenty fags costs about ten quid, nowadays.

It really doesn’t have much going for it.

So, can someone tell me why the idiot youngsters of today still take it up?

You must be joking

It annoys me that I can never remember jokes.

Even the good ones.

I heard one yesterday morning on a podcast: a nice quick two-liner. “Ahh, that’s a good one”, I thought, “I’ll tell that to the kids when I get home.”

Fat chance!

Could I remember it?

Could I ‘eck as like.

I was doing my food shopping in Sainsbury’s on Saturday, when I bumped into an old fellow as we both went for the free-range carrots at the same time. We explained niceties for moment, apologising to each other in the way us British do, and then he said to me – apropos of nothing – “Did you hear the one about…” and he proceeded to tell me a joke.

I smiled and gave a little laugh as I tried to back away toward the weighing scales. I remember thinking that it was actually quite a good joke… even though he telegraphed the punchline.

But, I’m damned if I can remember it now.

Then, as I was rummaging through the broccoli, there was a tap on my arm and I turned to see him standing there, smiling at me, although his trolley was still over by the carrots. “Two nuns walk into a bar…” He was evidently enjoying the opportunity to try his material out on someone other than his grand-kids and he told me three jokes in all… none of which I can remember now.

I laughed politely and continued with my shopping, aware that he was only a few steps behind me as I walked on.

I think I lost him in the next aisle, somewhere between the onions and the stringless beans.

He might still be there now, accosting any shopper that will listen.

“My wife’s so fat…”

Count your blessings

 A young chap at work has the enviable task of talking to members of the public about the Water Board’s plans for the area.

I say ‘enviable’, but he enjoys it. He’s that sort of chap. It doesn’t appeal to me at all. Horses for courses and all that.

But, he was telling me that when he goes along to an event and sets up his tent, he has no-way of keeping track of how many visitors he has had and whether the experience has benefited them at all.

So, I built him a counter. Just a simple thing, shown in the picture attached to this post.

It only took me a weekend to build the electronics and fine-tune the software that someone cleverer than me, put together.

However, it then took many weekends to design and build a wooden box to put it in.

Far too many weekends.

Because my woodworking skills suck. As you can see.

So, I was somewhat apprehensive when I presented it to him last week.

But, he was over the moon.


Exactly what he needs, apparently.

Other ideas for its use, have been offered up from other parties who have seen it in the office and I feel that I might get commissioned to build another one.

I’m happy to.

Happy to do the electronics, but someone else can build the bloody box for it!

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