It Was Like The Birds, Except With Cats. And Less Of Them.

May 31, 2014

You know when people say, “I had a feeling I was being watched…” I didn’t have that feeling. In fact, I was just listening to Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio without Frank Skinner and playing games on my laptop. I was happy as Larry. It was sunny this morning so I had the back door open, I was chilling out – or as much as someone with Consumption or whatever it is I’ve got can be chilling out inbetween wheezy coughs – and all was right with the world.

I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye.

I naturally assumed it to be Peppa or Pumpkin just meandering about, exploring their domain. That kind of thing.

Again, I thought nothing of it and continued to play games and enjoy the radiophonic delights on offer.

Then Pumpkin walked past. Followed by Peppa. From the direction of upstairs. They’d not been responsible for what I saw out of the corner of my eye.

Again, I thought nothing of it and carried on.

And then I caught something again, just in my peripheral vision. I assumed it to be Peppa or Pumpkin coming back in. Because you would. So I ignored it, and carried on playing and chilling and coughing.

And then there was a bit more movement. And a little bit more. Almost as if whatever was just at the edge of my vision really wanted to be seen.

I turned to find three cats lined up on the doorstep, just staring in it at me. Three cats of which zero percent belonged here. Three cats who just stood there and stared at me staring at them. None of us wanting to move. I mean, I wanted to move, but I figured I’d seen things like this in the movies and if I’d made a move into the kitchen then cats would leap on me from atop cupboards and on the worktops and such like and by the time Carole came home from Brighouse I would be nothing but some gnawed-on bones and a pile of phlegm.

And because, previously, I’ve been distracted by cats at the door, only to re-enter the house and find a cat that isn’t ours at the top of the stairs which I then could not find anywhere in the house.

It might actually still be here.

Maybe the other ones came to claim it back.


Sick, Innit?

May 30, 2014

I’ll be honest, this blog is disgusting. If you’re of a delicate disposition I’d advise you come back tomorrow.

Still here?


Some time ago, during the second year of Uni, I got what could best be described as absolutely hammered at the Christmas party. It was a combination of no food – except for a packet of nuts from the bar, beer and homemade wine which was so strong even the bottles it was in were pissed.

I passed out on this heady cocktail, while still at the party, and during the course of all this vomited vertically. Like a fountain. With the masticated nuts going some way to adding a grainy texture to what, otherwise, was just stomach lining and alcohol.

And then I threw up on my trousers a little bit. And then in – or near – to a toilet.

My coursemates took the opportunity to write a song to celebrate the occasion entitled “Jake is going to chunder” which the sang through the cubicle door as I dribbled vomit from both nose and mouth.

I then left the party, accompanied by a coursemate, and headed for home – by bus, rather than taxi – stopping off first to vomit on a bench outside our departmet and lament about how pathetic my life was. I was a vomit-covered, miserable, 19-year-old.

On the bus ride home I was sick again. But even smashed off my tits I knew that vomiting on a bus was a bad thing. So i retained it all in my mouth. For nearly two miles. Trying not to throw up anymore, and to maintain at least an iota of dignity.

I only mention this because, at the moment, I’m not well. My lungs appear to be a breeding ground for some sort of disgustingly coloured mucus, the amounts of which just beggar belief.

Anyway, I was about half way to work this morning when a particularly violent cough dislodged a particularly gargantuan mucosal being…

It was a lot further than two miles, I can tell you….

Dear M&S

May 29, 2014

Dear M&S

“Would you like one of our 5p bags?” That’s the question that anyone shopping in your store dreads. Because yes, they would like one, but the begrudge having to pay 5p for the privilege of carrying things out of your shop. I often want to say “No, fill up as many of those free ones as it takes, my good fellow.” But I don’t. Because, you know, the environment. Somewhere in the reasoning of all this, someone has figured out that if you spend 5p on a bag, you’re less likely to release it into the wild to suffocate a badger or something.

I’m not sure that’s true. What you’ve actually got, for your 5p, is a bag that seems a bit less likely to drip bin juice out of the bottom.

But anyway, I digress. Because what this is actually about is the fact that following the purchase of one of your 5p carrier bags I found that I was blessed with inexplicably blue hands. And it’s only now, a couple of days down the line from my first audition as a hand model for the Blue Man Group that I’ve realised that there’s no longer a blue fish on my M&S bag as most of it transferred onto my hand.

I paid 5p for that bag. You don’t get different coloured hands from your free bags, so why should paying more for a higher quality bag leave me with hands that look like I’ve strangled a smurf? Surely my 5p investment in the future of this planet should also go some way to ensuring that all the printing techniques used in the manufacture of said bags go some way to ensuring that they are colour fast. Particularly when in the hands of me.

It can’t be too much to ask. I refuse to believe it. All that Magic and Sparkle that you put into things, maybe you should try making it more, I don’t know, Mordant & S… omething beginning with S that I haven’t thought of yet. But I will. I didn’t slave away for three years on a Colour & Polymer Chemistry degree to not be able to think of an S word to do with dyeing.

Yeah, Colour and Polymer Chemistry – I’m almost too qualified to be slagging off the state of your shoddy bags.



P.S. Substantive.

P.P.S I know that you wouldn’t actually need a mordant if you used substantive dyes.

P.P.P.S Oh just sort your bags out.


An Ode To A Wet Pet

May 28, 2014

Stay away from me, you little beast
I don’t want you to touch
Normally I wouldn’t mind
But now it’s just too much.

Go on the couch, or on the bed
Roll around on the floor
But don’t come rubbing against me
Or I’ll kick you out the door.

I told you not to go outside
A decision you’d regret
And now you’ve come back in I see
You’re really, really wet.

Your fur has formed a mohawk
You look a little dazed.
You’ve soaked up more water than a sponge
I’ll be honest I’m amazed.

But keep your distance, four-legged pet
Now is not the time for cuddles.
Just keep away, stand over there
Where you’re leaving your own puddles.

Don’t try and jump into my lap
In fact I think I’ll stand
I’m not going to let you get me wet
I’m sure you understand.

No, stay away. Get back you minx.
Don’t try and be my friend.
You soaking wet, your feet are cold
All things that will offend.

I’ve won, haha. You can’t get me.
And I will remain dry.
Oh don’t you dare. Don’t shake yourself.
Well, I suppose I had to try…


Just The Ticket

May 27, 2014

I couldn’t leave work at my proper time tonight, because I had to go hunting for a cleaner to do something she needed to do before I could do something I needed to do and leave the building.

All the time I was chasing around trying to find her, and talking to her colleague who had left her bucket at the opposite end of the office to where she was cleaning and had to keep walking back to it to rinse her cloth, meant that I missed the bus home.

Because, obviously, on the day when want – no, need – the bus to be late, like it is every single day of the week, it happens to turn up on time and be long gone by the time I make it out of the office. For a while I chose to believe that I hadn’t missed it, and that it was just missing from the digital display board – that’s not beyond the realms of extreme possibility. But as I stood there, clinging to that one last hope I realised that my metaphorical ship had, in fact, sailed.

And so I was consigned to the train.

I don’t think, in all the years of catching trains, that I’ve ever shared a platform with a man carrying a surfboard before. But as it slammed into my legs for what was probably the forth or fifth time, I almost couldn’t wait for the next time. It was up there with people who just take their bikes on outings and then tut if you object to them being rested against you as you stand crammed in the aisles.

I’ve also never seen – in any station I have ever passed through – an automated ticket barrier which, when you’re travelling using a pass – requires a member of station staff to insert a dummy ticket for the day into the mechanism to get it to open. Every other station I’ve seen has a simple card that they can touch to a sensor and job’s a good ‘un. I can only assume that was a little too pricey for the people of Huddersfield station and they decided to go for something a bit cheaper.

Luckily drawing the line at something that has to be hand-cranked by a Victorian Street Urchin in order to pass through it, although that was probably considered as it’s more in keeping with the spirit of the town.


Secrets And Lines

May 26, 2014

I watched a show, yesterday, about one of my favourite topics – flying saucers. I know you were all expecting it to be one about Bigfoot but, sadly, they’re a little thin on the ground these days aside from the documentary about the man from Manchester who was hunting for the Russian Bigfoot. Yeah, Russia has a Bigfoot as well, but it might actually be a Neanderthal – or group of Neanderthals – who have somehow escaped extinction. I can only assume that he read a lot of Stig of the Dump as a child.

But this UFO documentary was also about Russia. Obviously, for some reason, Russia is the main focus for all these things at the moment. Maybe it’s because of the Ukraine thing, maybe it’s just some kind of fluke and nothing more than a coincidence, who can say. Maybe that alone is a conspiracy that will be studied in a different show.

This show told various tales of how UFOs were crashing all over Russia with what seemed to be startling regularity and it featured one of my most favourite pointless things of all time Рa man with two copper divining rods, clearly marking out the area where a UFO  crashed by the fact that they swung about a bit. And saying something about how the grass was growing really well. In a field. Of grass.

But still, when you’ve got all these alien craft just dropping out of the sky you’d need somewhere to put all the bits, wouldn’t you?

And Russia has that.

A secret base that no-one has ever seen inside of. Well, apart from the people that work there, or have been there, or who built it. What “no-one has ever seen inside” means, in the world of these documentaries, is that no-one with an active imagination has seen inside. But the show didn’t stop there. It went on to say that we’d be able to see exactly what was in this base, and then cut to an advert.

Well, ordinarily I’d flick through the channels, but I couldn’t. Not now. Not when the secret base that no-one has ever seen inside of was actually going to be shown. I was on the edge of my seat. And once the adverts for over-50’s life cover, cheap mattresses and sofas that, for some reason, have to be stroked to be appreciated, the show came back.

Here it was. A glimpse inside this never-before-seen secret base.



It’s just a computer drawing of what the corridors might look like under the base.

That’s not really the same as revealing the secrets of the base, is it? That’s on a par with the stuff on Time Team when they’d find a shard of pottery and Victor the vampiric sketch artist would be able to recreate the entire village from that tiny piece of pot. And then Victor’s picture would, somehow, become gospel. It would become the blueprint for what was actually there. They may as well have just downed tools and stopped the digging, Victor’s drawing had solved all the mysteries of past.

And this was what I was presented with. An entire secret base, hundreds of feet under the ground, laid bare for me to see. Via the power of someone’s imagination and a bit of Photoshop.

There was then a parade of experts who went on to tell me things that might happen in the rooms of the secret underground base that no-one has ever seen.

It made the whole “tell me to stop when my arms are the same width apart as its shoulders” approach to Bigfoot hunting seem incredibly scientific.

The Ballad Of Pumpkin And Peppa

May 25, 2014

You think that we don’t notice
And that we’re not aware
You snuggle down, inches apart
On the bed, the couch, a chair.

You squabble and fight every day
When you know that we are looking
But underneath the growls and hissing
A friendship you are cooking.

And we pretend that we don’t know
That you get on alright.
That’s why we always play along
When you two have a fight.

“Cut that out! Stop it now!”
These things you’ll hear us shout.
But we know that you don’t mean it
Because your secret’s out.

Mere inches lie between you two
So don’t pretend to hate
We know that both get on well
And we think that’s really great.

You fight when you’re in public
But not behind closed doors.
I give it about another month
And you’ll be holding paws…