Gotta Get Down On Friday

Carole’s out for a belated birthday treat tonight.

Which means I have the house to myself.

On a Friday night.

And you know what that means?


If you guessed that the rest of that would be “IRING UP SOCKS” then you’d be right.

Because, apparently, the kind of rock and roll lifestyle I seem to lead is one in which – when presented with a Friday night alone – I clean the kitchen, do a couple of loads of washing, hoover downstairs and sort the bins out. And consider it daring and/or adventurous to eat a Time Out after 9pm while drinking a cup of tea. No caffeine after seven be damned, I say.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. I have had a dialogue with myself (ok, a two-way monologue then) in which I debated whether it was too late to do any hoovering – it was coming up to eight o’clock and there are small children on either side of us, after all. And then I heard, on one side at least, the little buggers running around causing chaos and figured that me doing a spot of domestic drudgery wouldn’t do any more harm to their lives than the laid back approach of the parents. I mean, even as I type this now, some two hours later, there is still the sound of rampaging children echoing through the walls. I could still probably hoover now, if I so desired, with little or no guilt sweeping through my body.

Not that there was much guilt flooding through me in the first place.

And anyway, I’m not sure the sound of the hoover would really have made much of a difference…

What with me having the radio on quite loud and the washing machine being on a spin cycle.

This is why I shouldn’t be left alone on a Friday.

I am such a rebel.



Glow In The Dark Owl

We went to the Range yesterday
To look at some things that we “needed.”
In the gardening aisle, Carole spotted a thing
To put in the garden we’d weeded.

“Instead of a breakfast buy me this,”
Said Carole while clutching a rod
“It’s an owl, can’t you see? And it glows in the dark!”
If you ask me, that’s a little bit odd.

The silent hunter, the owl
Swoops from trees onto mice with no sound
I’m not sure that they glow in the dark
Their prey would know when they’re around.

But here we are with the owl
On a stick that you push in the dirt
I was messing around, not looking about
So I walked into a thing and got hurt.

Before the owl had been spotted
It was a ladybird playing guitar
That glowed in the dark much like the owl
And was a hell of a lot cheaper by far.

But it’s fine, I figured, to buy the owl
Rather than a breakfast we’d eat
And I reckoned in case it turned out to be shit
I’d keep hold of the receipt.

That £4.99 was money well spent
Because there’s one thing that this owl’s not showing
It’s outside now, standing up in the dark,
And the bastard thing just isn’t glowing.


Carole is good at a lot of things. Talking, for example, is probably one of her special skills. As is managing, inexplicably, to discover the financial history of anyone she has just met or spent any time with. She’s also good at Ticket To Ride – that can’t be disputed. She is the house’s reigning champion when it comes to train-based board games.

One thing she’s not good at, though, is being ill. Nope, it turns out when my little Petri Dish is ill, she really goes to town with it. Today she’s resembled an ill version of the Dormouse from Alice In Wonderland. Like something really cute mixed with the coughing death rattles of a 90-a-day smoker.

While people mat point fingers at menfolk who suffer with a sniffle, calling it “Man Flu” in a way to belittle the disease – although a large portion of the internet do believe that Man Flu is an actual type of flu you can catch, like swine or bird flu before it – Carole suffers from Carole Flu. Which is much, much worse.

Death is imminent, apparently. It’s something I should be prepared for, I have been told.

And while Death might be there, waiting, with his scythe poised she still finds time to use up valuable strength to complain that the cup of Lemsip I have made her is just a little bit too hot. Even to the end, she’s been a fighter. A very demanding fighter. If she had a little bell she could ring, I’d have probably cut the clapper out of it by now.

Obviously, she’s not actually fading as fast as she claims. She’s just got a bit of a cough.

And an intermittent whistling bogey.

One of which (the cough, preferably) she’s probably passed onto me for later in the week, most probably Saturday when we’re off to the Good Food show in Harrogate, so I can hack up a lung or two over any food samples on offer and infect most of North Yorkshire in a single day. And you won’t hear me complaining. Oh no. I shall just stand strong. I won’t criticise the temperature of my medicinal drinks.

Ok, I might complain a bit as I cough and splutter my way through a Mary Berry masterclass or something, but other than that I’ll be fine.

After all, us menfolk can handle a few germs, can’t we?


Park It

One of the fun elements of going to the cinema in Huddersfield is the close proximity of the cinema to the sports stadium so if there’s a match of any kind on, you’re pretty much fucked if you want to go to the cinema rather than just spend a few hours driving round and round the car park getting annoyed at yellow-jacketed jobsworths.

Yesterday, it was a rugby match. I think. I don’t know. Let’s say that’s what it was. The kick of was at three o’clock. We were going to the 12.30 showing of Spider-man. We arrived before noon to find that the jobsworths had laid claim to all of the car park apart from one tiny but near the cinema itself.

“Oh no, you can’t go and park over the bridge,” said one of them. “That’s for the match…”
“It does say on the website that on match days you might not be able to park…” said another, smug-faced parking git-wizard.

Yes, it does say that on the website. But it also says that parking restrictions will come into effect three hours before kick off and for two hours after the match. Although I’m not sure why it has to last for two hours afterwards. Surely once things are underway in the stadium then that should be the end of it. If you’re not parked by then, then you should just be forced to find your own place and not be led by the hand by an enthusiastic volunteer who can now put on his Record Of Achievement that he helps out with major sporting events. And anyway, the kick off wasn’t until three, and it was before twelve. So he was being a dick before his allotted dick time.

We ended up waiting at the end of row of parked cars, hoping that a space became free that we could nip into.

One did, as it happens, about ten minutes before our film was due to start, and we nipped in there – with some help from one of the less nobbish yellow-jacketed git wizards – much to the annoyance of a very large man in a very small car who growled something angrily at the parking people and muttered a lot.

I just hoped he didn’t get the smug one with his “well, it does say on the website” speech. Otherwise he’d have to unpour himself from his tiny car, pummel him, and then struggle back in again to once more begin the slow circle of desperation to find a parking spot.

The other thing we learnt is never, ever, under any circumstances look at the seats your about to sit on in anything other than the muted light of the cinema environment. Don’t, for example, shine your mobile phone light on them. Just don’t. Because then you spend the entire film sitting in a way which, you hope, minimises any contact with the surface of the seat cushions whatsoever.

Trust me on that one.

Lie To Me

You know when you go to buy new shoes and you walk in them to see if they’re comfy or not and no matter how hard you try you can’t actually remember how to walk like you normally walk? The same sort of thing happens when you’re tying out mattresses for firmness in the middle of a bed shop.

We’re in the market for a new mattress because ours is flatter than a flat thing. You can feel everything through it. If you put a pea under it I’m fairly sure that both of us would actually be able to assert our claim to Royal Lineage by feeling it through the mattress. Although it would have to be a hard pea, and not just a Birds Eye one straight from the freezer because then you’d just end up with squashed pea on the underside of your mattress. Although we’d probably feel that as well.

So, in an effort to not wake up in the morning with the imprint of every mattress spring embedded in our body, we’re getting a new mattress. But before you can do all that you have to go and lie on a lot of them to work out how firm you need them to be.

There’s a scale which goes from 1 to 5. One is soft, five is hard. One is stupidly soft. Five is like sleeping on a floor. Three is a bit too soft. And four – well four is just right.


I mean, it’s hard to tell. I would say a four. But I was primarily lying on them like I’d just been laid out in an open casket. I don’t sleep like that. I don’t sleep with my arms crossed across my chest as though they’ve been placed there by a mortician. I sleep all over the shop. Limbs out left, right and centre. There’s usually a cat involved as well. Sometimes I’m scrabbling for a duvet. Very often I’m left exposed to the elements. Or Carole is chuntering. Or humming. It’s very hard to recreate the conditions of a normal night’s sleep when there’s someone hovering around wondering if you need any help.

I don’t know what he would really help with, either. We’re just lying down for a bit on a variety of different beds, trying to work out the difference between the mattresses and – personally – praising whoever it is who made sheets a thing because, Sweet Jesus, some of the designs that are put on mattresses are fricking awful. I mean, how much help can he really give. I mean, I watched him taking apart a display wardrobe with one of his colleagues. He removed the sides and left the top on.

That’s not right.

Should this man actually be helping me to lie down?