2.366 Happy New Year

Well, at least that worked. At least I finished the year on with the blog number on the right day. I nearly didn’t, as I discovered somewhere around November that I had added a day to the running total and had to hastily re-label them all before anyone noticed. Not that anyone did notice, but that’s not the point.

So, it’s the end of 2012.  And not in a Mayan way. Just in a traditional calendar-type way and the traditional annual outing for  Jools Holland.

For me, 2012 has been a mixed year. It’s had its ups and its downs. But, as the famous philosopher Ronan Keating once said, life is a rollercoaster. By which he means that sometimes it will just shake you about so much that you’ll end up vomiting in a bush. But it’s over now, and while I can look back at all the good things and fun times along the way there’s a lot of 2012 I’d happily forget, but know that the experiences have made me into a stronger person. Or something suitably twee like that.

One of the fun things about New Year’s Eve is that you have to, over the course of the day, answer the same question a multitude of times.

What are you doing for New Year’s?

I’m not doing anything exciting. I’m spending it with Carole and we’ll try and stay awake as long as is humanly possibly. On the off-chance we’ll see the New Year in. It very rarely happens, in all honesty. Not that anything really changes, it’s just another day after all. All it means is that it’s time to take down one calendar and put up another one.

Oh, and if we go to bed early, we’ll be blown out from under the duvet by the Polish man down the street and his yearly dose of industrial strength fireworks which will rattle the fillings in your head and go on for at least an hour, as though he thinks his Kirklees council regulation garden is, in some way, the Sydney Harbour Bridge or something.

But at least if we stay up until midnight we can check out the Kindle Deal of the Day and the latest additions to the Kindle sale on Amazon before we go to bed. And wake up with that superior feeling tomorrow because we’re slightly ahead of the curve.

And, for me, there’s no better way to start the New Year.

Have a good one.

See you in 2013.



2.365 Irritable Vowel Syndrome

“But you’re older so you know more words…”

And that’s why I was beaten at Scrabble by a crack team of five people and a dictionary.

I’m not bitter.

I’m not a sore loser.

Well, maybe a little.

After all, we were playing for a quiche. Which gives you a snapshot into just how rock-and-roll these things can get.

A quiche.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a very nice quiche. And, somehow, it became the ultimate prize in a game of scrabble. A battle of wits between me and my new nemesis. Not only does she have better legs than me and the honour of being the computer fixer du jour, but she’s also insanely competitive. I realised that the other day when she cheated her way to a Monopoly victory in what can only be described as a flurry of fake money and plastic houses.

For a while we’ve been talking about having a real-life Scrabble game. We’ve played Words With Friends via the internet and I’ve lost in suspicious circumstances. When I say suspicious, I mean when she buggered off on her honeymoon and somehow – somehow – the game decided that her absence should award her the victory. I mean, yes, she had just got married and all that, but we’d already got her a wedding present, she didn’t need a stolen victory in a word game on top of that.

So since that day we’ve said that we would have a game. Face to face across a table. Able to see the tension etched on the face of our opponent, sweat dripping from their brow and all that. And so it came to pass that tonight – the 30th of December 2012 – would be the night for that game. Upon which the fate of a quiche would rest.

And then I lost.

So I’m not really wanting to talk about it. It’s quite a sore subject. Even more so when you think that one of the words they tried to play was “teef”.

And yet I still lost.

I write words every day.

And I still lost.

Don’t think this is the end of it…

2.364 Duvet Know It’s Christmas?

Energy prices are on the up. On the up and up. You can, rather optimistically I think, fix your energy prices now and if – through some kind of as yet unknown miracle, energy prices happen to fall – something which is extremely unlikely but scientists have said that the Mayans, as well as their calendar, did have a sophisticated stone energy tariff calculator which is due to run out soon – your prices will go down as well.

Our prices have gone up. Partly because it’s been colder than a witch’s tit. And partly because, for the past however many bills, the people at the gas company have been grossly underestimating our usage to the point where I’m not entirely unconvinced that some someone isn’t siphoning off our gas supply for their own needs. In a way it reminds me of the news story I read about a man who was charged by his gas supplier for the gas used in the explosion which blew apart his house. Even then, it was probably less than we are paying.

So in an effort to save money and stay warm, we have a downstairs duvet which lives on the back of the couch. It cost us all of  about twenty quid (including cover) which at today’s energy prices is the equivalent of getting a radiator up to “slightly warm to the touch”. And so, when it’s cold we can snuggle under the duvet and get warm. It’s fine when there’s both of us there – we sit on the couch and tuck it round our legs, looking for all the world like an old couple on the sea front at Eastbourne. But who cares, we’re warm and we’re not lining the pockets of whichever megalomaniac is running our gas supplier. We may look like idiots, but the last laugh is on us.

And it’s all well and good when it’s the both of us. It’s sweet and cosy and every so romantic. But, and I think Carole will agree with this, it’s bloody fantastic when you’re alone. You get the whole duvet to yourself. You can cocoon yourself up, away from the elements and relax, all warm and toasty. Watching TV or reading a book. Listening to music or beavering away on the computer.

Or that’s the plan.

But, it would appear, the duvet is laced with a powerful sedative.

Not powerful enough, it would appear, to take down two fully grown adults when they’re sitting together. But when it gets one of us alone, the sedative is very, very strong. So strong, in fact, that I’m thinking of writing to Amazon and suggesting they add a little bit into their Kindle blurb which says it hurts less when you fall asleep and smack yourself in the face with it than a real-life book, because I have – on many an occasion – shocked myself away by falling asleep and dropping my favourite reading companion square onto my slumbering features. Still, it’s better than that time I fell asleep on the train and threw that Lee Child book across the aisle when I woke up suddenly.

Last night, for example, I settled down on the couch to read. Carole had gone upstairs to check something on the printer and, on the way, fallen into bed. That’s the kind of rock-and-roll life we lead. I started to read my book. It was somewhere around 11pm.

And then it was quarter to two in the morning.

Just like that.

And very little of my book appeared to have been read.

A similar thing happened this afternoon while Carole was in town, shopping. I sat on the couch to read. And then it was dark outside and I was awoken by the sound of bells ringing. Which, it turns out, was Peppa in the Christmas tree. Which, it turns out, Carole has now added bells to.

Which is nice.


2.363 Onesie For The Money

I don’t understand the current thing for the onesie.

I don’t understand the lure of wearing what is essentially a babygro for an adult adorned with some kind of hilarious design. I just don’t get it at all. I can only assume the people who fawn over the onesie are the same people who got excited when someone invented the slanket. I mean, in a way, that’s all a onesie is. It’s the next evolutionary step of the slanket. Like a Pokemon,  it’s grown beyond its original form and found its own strength. Basically, it’s now a slanket with legs.

There’s a practical element to my non-understanding of the onesie. Apart from looking like George Dawes off of Shooting Stars – although probably infinitely less irritating – the simple act of going to the loo requires you to undress at least 50% of your body before you even get close to the areas from which relief can come. The onesie craze combined with the noro virus is, I would imagine, leading to a higher than usual use of washing machines during the month of December. It’s a bit like when David Walliams got the shits while swimming along the Thames. Only not sealed into a wetsuit and therefore a lot less funny. There’s no button-down flap as seen on the onesie-style attire of any cartoon redneck you’d happen to name. You can call me crazy if you want, but I like the more traditional clothing which allows me swift access and clothing redeployment if, and when, the need to relieve myself arises. It is generally known that – on occasion – I have the bladder of a small child so I would waste several man hours getting in and out of my onesie.

And that’s not even touching on the fact that, were I to wear a onesie, I would basically look like someone had dressed a sack of potatoes up in a costume.

Having said all that, however, the onesie does provide comic enjoyment.

Like, for example, when you happen to glance out of your front room window on Christmas morning only to see Not Sid (yes, him again) parading around his front garden smoking a fag…

… while dressed from head to toe in a large green dinosaur onesie.

Which, it would appear, he hasn’t taken off since and has, in fact, helped a neighbour – sorry, I mean “helped” a neighbour – mend their car while still dressed as Barney’s off-colour cousin.

Several days after Christmas.

He’s probably still wearing it now.

One can but hope.

2.362 The Light? Fantastic.

There’s a lamp-post almost directly outside our house. It’s just to the right as you’re walking up the path. For quite some time it was faulty and would only work intermittently or, as I found out, if you banged on it with a fist. Like the Fonz. I did this once, not knowing that out next-door neighbour was sitting on her doorstep at the time. I’m fairly sure, from that moment on, she thought I was a wizard. I once saw her, through the window, trying to bang on the lamp-post and make it come on, but she couldn’t do it.

Clearly she didn’t believe.

But it works now. It comes on every night and goes off every morning. In some ways it’s quite nice to have a street lamp outside of your house. It makes you feel secure and less likely to be attacked on your path by an interloper hiding in your ferns, or something. It’s a safe and reassuring thing.

Recently – very, very recently in fact – Peppa has developed the need to climb curtains. She will, during the night, launch herself from the bed directly at the bedroom curtains and then shin up to the top of them. Where she will hang, directly above our heads, like the Sword of Damocles but in cat form. But she’s not content with just doing that. Because that, it would appear, doesn’t cause enough mischief. Apart from when she drops off and lands on Carole’s head. But that’s more funny than anything else.

No, what Peppa does is leap at the curtains and then swing her body like someone on a death slide and this, through constant wriggling, will cause the bedroom curtains to open.

I may have mentioned, a few paragraphs ago, that we have a street lamp almost directly outside our house. The lamp is almost directly, in line with our now exposed sleeping faces. Or, I should say, non-sleeping faces. Because there’s a bloody street lamp beaming directly into them.

At least once I’ve woken up and thought that the aliens had come for me.

And then there’s Peppa at the top of the curtains. Just hanging there, in a very non-suspicious fashion. Cats can’t whistle, but if they could that’s exactly what she’d be doing. Whistling and looking round with a “Who me? Oh have I done that?” expression on her face.

Still, at least she’s stopped climbing the Christmas tree.