August 27, 2016

One of the rules we’ve had, since my dad passed away, is that when my mum is in the loft, doing weird and wonderful things in the garden, or poking around in the garage she should always have her mobile with her. That way if she becomes trapped, falls or whatever she can at least signal for help.

This has been a rule for five months now.

Today she asked me to show her how to make a phone call using her mobile phone.

You’ve got to think that really this should have come up sooner than today. I mean when she’s happily telling you about the time she had to crowbar some firewood out of the stack while balanced on a stool, you do start to worry about what things she’s up to now she’s entirely unsupervised and free to run amok.

So I showed her how to use the mobile phone today, ready to use all the essential pre-approved mother jargon if needed – loaf of bread button, middle stick etc. I didn’t go into too much detail about how I don’t think a phone signal can penetrate the foil insulation in the loft should anything happen to her up there as I didn’t want to worry her too much. But I really don’t think it can. I remember dad saying he’d had to move the TV aerial out of the loft because the insulation blocked most of the digital signal. And my mum is only rocking a Nokia 3310, so I can’t imagine that has much in the way of signal boosting capability.

Still, it is large and bulky enough that she could use it to smash her way out of the loft if needs be.

She had, though, hung onto a letter and brochure that BT had sent her offering her a pick from the latest smart phones. I can’t imagine my mum with a smart phone. It’s not even like she’s worked her way along – to go from a Nokia 3310 that she still isn’t sure of the menu for to something she can swipe, take pictures on and send emails is a massive step. And it’s just not the right one to take. For my mum, or for the phone.

That little phone will have left the factory filled with hopes and dreams. It will have heard tales about how the phones that have gone before have become treasured companions of the humans who used them. It will think that it too is going to live that life. A life of adventure and the latest apps. A life of usefulness and joy.

But if you’ve ever seen an old person on a bus with one, you’ll know that at best it’s just destined for a life of having the keypad tones on – loudly – for ever with no hope of them ever being turned off and it’ll be a fine line between making a phone call and accidentally taking a picture of their ear.

Maybe we should get her a carrier pigeon…


Eye For Salad

August 26, 2016

Yesterday my eyes were ridiculously sore. Red, itchy and painful to go anywhere near.

I’d woken up in the middle of the night and my right eye was agony – it felt like there was something in it. Which made absolutely no sense considering the fact that I had been asleep with my eyes firmly closed up until that point. But there was definitely something wrong. I rubbed it. I rolled my eye around. I did all sorts of things that you’re probably not supposed to do – and I should know better having scratched my eyeball on some fibre glass when I was younger.

When I woke up at my alloted time my eye invader had gone, but my eye was still sore and, not wanting to miss out, my left eye started to itch as well.

I spent all day at work with sore eyes. I looked like crap. I looked as if I’d not slept for days. I was blearly eyed, couldn’t open them all the way without them stinging and making it look like I was crying. They were in agony.

And then last night I lay on the couch with cucumber slices on my eyes as if I was at some sort of spa.

I’ll tell you what, I’m doing that again.

I don’t know what it actually did, short of make my eyes a bit chilly because the cucumber had been in the fridge. I suppose it creates a sort of cool, moist atmosphere for your eyes, allowing them to suck the moisture from the air and rejuvinate your eyeballs or some load of old bollocks like that.

Whatever the explanation – even if it does absolutely nothing at all from a scientific point of view – I am definitely doing it again. I would happily fake sore eyes every day of my life if it meant I could spend some time lying on the couch with the makings of a salad resting in my eye sockets. To be honest, I’ve been thinking about enjoying it again this evening.

What’s happening to me?  I am man, hear me roar. I should be coming home, stripping down to my vest, drinking beers, watching action movies and swearing a lot. I shouldn’t be looking forward to vegetable-based relaxation and the cooling refreshment of green watery eye discs.

But I am.


Full Spread

August 25, 2016

Today has not been a good one in terms of travel to and from work.

This morning I managed to forget my wallet, which meant a trek back to the house to get it resulting in a missed bus. This was rectified by Carole giving me a lift further along the bus route, but totally not the best start to the day at all.

And tonight, the buses were all up the crapper – probably because of the hordes of middle class children carrying tents and sleeping bags to Leeds Festival, so it took ages until I actually got on a bus. Far longer than it should have done, in fact, although that was primarily due to the fact that one bus just drove past the bus stop because it was being driven by a dick.

And when a bus eventually came, it was packed to the gills with commuters and annoying yoofs who feel the need to share all their music and talk really loudly. I ended up sitting next to a guy who had man spread over one and a half seats. So I got to spend a portion of the journey hanging off the seat edge because he needed to have extra room for his cock and balls to rest on the seat.

And he kept jiggling his leg. All the bloody time. And watching snapchat videos and countless other annoying things, all the time presumably holding the phone so his meat and two veg could see everything that was going on.

At one point I contemplated just barging his leg out of the way and sliding fully onto the seat but he was clearly the Alpha Male of the seating arrangement, otherwise why would he need so much space in which to rest his testicles? That’s not the sort of person you want to pick a fight with on a bus. I mean, what he really was was a complete prick, but I’d had a crap day at work so it could have escalated quickly.

And I’m not sure my impassioned cries of “he was bloody manspreading!” as I was bundled into the back of some kind of law enforcement vehicle would have done anything to make it better for myself.


The Obligatory Bake Off One

August 24, 2016


That’s my pick for the winner this year. As the twelve bakers were introduced at the very start of the show, Carole made us pick out our favourite based on pretty much nothing. I picked Selasi, Carole picked Kate. Although she’s changed the rules of the picking game and is now #TeamSelasi… which seems very unsportsmanlike of her.

But having GBBO back on our screens is brilliant.

It’s the television event in our house, in that we have to watch it when it’s on. We can’t watch it recorded because things happen – like Baked Alaska-gate, for example – and people ruin it all for us and we have to have them killed by professional hitmen and that costs money. So we have to watch live – which, in this day and age, is a rare thing and something that pretty much only happens with GBBO (and currently Robot Wars because we’re nerds).

And, it would appear, this year the innuendos are coming thick and fast, which will have the Daily Mail up in arms again. Last year they blasted the show as being disgusting and wotnot, but that was primarily so they could keep complaining about Nadia being in with a chance of winning, what with her being a woman and a Muslim.

And this year, it’s not even all coming from Mel and Sue. Because, like that footage of Howard running from several years ago, it’s going to be hard to forget Kate’s “I like the taste of cox” while innocently discussing the relative merits of apple flavours. Couple that with Candice discussing how she plans to penetrate her cake, and you’re half-way to a Carry On film. And you know what, it’s bloody magical.

If Points Of View still exists I imagine there will be a few “disgusted of somewhere-or-other” letters complaining about all of it. And you know that’s bound to get picked up for The Extra Slice on Friday. If it’s not, then I’m going to be writing a disgusted of Huddersfield letter demanding an explanation!

At the other end of the spectrum, I’m kind of rooting for Val to leave because I’m not sure how many weeks I can put up with her wacky kitchen behaviour like dancing while she cooks and listening to her cakes sing. I appreciate that it is a thing, but it just seems to be one bullet in a fully loaded magazine of kooky grandma in a kitchen that she has up her sleeves. If she spent less time dancing and titting about, she might stand a better chance to get her sugars right.

Anyway, Selasi.

Until next Wednesday, when it all might change.

To Infinity And Beyond

August 23, 2016


That’s the sound of either of us enjoying our new internet speed that is massively faster than it was before. As part of the settling in process, we have been advised to use the broadband as much as is humanly possible – so we are downloading stuff left, right and centre, streaming videos, surfing the net and generally just using it. And some of that is even taking place at the same time, which is practically unheard of up to now.

The one thing I think we can be proudest of, though, is that fact that despite the box that the home hub came in saying that it fits most letterboxes it actually doesn’t fit through ours. Carole had to go and collect it from the Post Office this morning, and we’ve both looked at the box and decided that it totally would fit and it was just the postman being awkward.

But the first thing I did when I got home was try and deliver it to ourselves.

And it wouldn’t go. I was all ready to take a picture of it through the door, sticking out of both sides of the letter box, so that I could tweet it to Royal Mail with a pithy “too large for the letterbox” comment and some disgruntlement that the postman clearly didn’t even try. But it didn’t fit. At all. Not even an insanely tight squeeze. There was just no hope of it fitting through.

So I owe an apology to the post office van jockey who tried to deliver it yesterday for besmirching your good name in any kind of in-house discussions we had last night. I was the heat of the moment and I am a nerd who loves new tech and anything I can attach wires to, so I was stupidly excited.

It was all I could do this morning to stop myself hugging the BT Engineer in the street. I walked past him on my way to the bus stop as he was clearly swapping a connection or two over to super things. I wanted to stop and ask him which line he was swapping over and, probably, had I not been on my way to work I would have done just that. And probably asked him if he could show me all the wires. And other geeky stuff like that.

I’d have had to address the issue of being up and out at 6.30 in a morning and not going to work, but I think it would have been worth it to learn the secrets of the wires.

But as it is I’m like a pig in shit. I’m able to do things I haven’t been able to do before – like download things without setting aside a week to do it, not to mention having to constantly pause it because one of us wanted to send a text message or something.

Ah technology.

Take It Back-tivate

August 22, 2016

There are many times when the phrase “we could do that” passes our lips.

When we dine out somewhere, we’re constantly looking at the food we’ve ordered, the menu or other people’s food to steal, poach, borrow and assimilate flavour combinations, ideas or whatever else to make our own at home – and therefore cheaper – food much better.

Or we’ll see something in a magazine, on TV or, most recently, on someone’s instagram that we think we could steal, borrow from or adapt to suit an idea we’ve had at home. Currently under review are display ideas for Lego figures and a kind of washing line, with pegs, to hang photos from.

But last night the phrase came at a time when I didn’t expect it. At all. It came out of nowhere and is based on a collection of experience, between the two of us, that amounts to just slightly less than feck all. But still, the phrase is out there. “We could do that…” was uttered.

Not by me, I hasten to add. Because I don’t believe we could. But Carole, very much a modern day Pollyanna, thinks it could.

When she said “we could do that” we were watching Robot Wars. A show about battling robots, built by hobbiests to kick the living crap, artificially speaking, out of each other. A show to which Carole is a recent convert. A show she still hasn’t actually got the gist of yet.

But she’s all for us building a robot.

I know nothing abour robot building. Well, I know a very tiny anount based on the fact that I used to get a robot-building part work magazine thing with which I built a bit of a robot. It worked, I just never saw it past tracking lines on a piece of paper.

Unless she’s kept it very quiet, which is extremely unlikely, I’m fairly sure Carole has never built a robot either. Or has any sort of real-life workable knowledge of electronics.

So we could do that. If we had the requisite skills, knowledge or design skill.

Which we don’t. By the bucket load.

Bye In The Sky

August 21, 2016

We’re due to change broadband providers in two days so, obviously, every slight discrepancy, loss of signal or slightest untoward flicker from the current router and we’re sure it’s Sky not giving a shit anymore.

We probably wouldn’t feel like that if they hadn’t sent us a slightly aggressive leaving letter. But, you know, they did. So it’s clear that they’re quite put out by all this.

The letter, which we received about a day after swapping providers reminds us of Sky’s award-winning broadband and how we’re clearly fools for turning our back on it. It doesn’t say what award it won. I could probably go online and look, but the broadband speed is so slow that the picture of it would just download line by line.

The broadband’s currently off at the moment. I’m sure it’s for some purely legitimate reason and not because one of the Sky boffins has got a bit trigger happy with our leaving date.

I mean if I was Sky and I wanted to rub our faces in it, I’d go out of my way to up the speed as much as possible for the final forty-eight hours, giving us blisteringly fast download speeds without the need to see Usain Bolt dancing, and then send us sn email on Tuesday entitled “ha ha” which is just a picture of Nelson from the Simpsons.

And then just unplug us from the award-winning broadband. That we’ve had for years and have nearly finished downloading a movie on…


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