The Rolf Blog That I Totally Forgot To Put A Title On

June 30, 2014

My bio blurb on Twitter used to read:

“Writing. Comedy. Gaming. Not all at once. Blue Peter Badge holder and proud member of Rolf’s Cartoon Club.”

When I wrote it, things were a lot rosier in the garden of people who found the height of their fame in the seventies. It was a more innocent time back then. And then it came to light that Rolf was, in fact, a dirty bastard and I thought it was best at that point to remove the reference to Rolf’s Cartoon Club which, in all honesty, I wasn’t that proud to be in but I thought it tied in quite nicely with the Blue Peter badge thing.

So I took it off. I stopped at having a Blue Peter badge, thinking that I would surely be safe with that – once you could live down the shame of it being associated with Janet Ellis’ out-of-wedlock pregnancy, that guy with curly hair who presented it for about a month and did something, and Richard Bacon’s second income peddling drugs on the streets of London. Other than that, though, the Blue Peter badge was safe. Well, unless you considered the fact that people were selling them on eBay which ruined it for everyone. I would just like to point out that I earned my Blue Peter badge through hard graft and writing a letter about having written a computer game about unleaded petrol.

I’m not even making that shit up.

Anyway, I took any mention of Rolf off my Twitter bio.

And all was well.

Until I happened to, just a few days ago, glance at the blurb on my Facebook page. I don’t really look at the About Me section as I think I know me fairly well. But it turns out that I loved my Twitter blurb so much that I copied across onto Facebook. Where it remained. Entirely intact. Still saying how proud I was to be in Rolf’s Cartoon Club.

I took it off about three days ago, luckily, just before the verdict in his trial for being a vile man came in.

I’m just glad I noticed it was there!


Rubbish

June 29, 2014

We didn’t bring out black bin back round after Monday’s collection.

For the last week it’s sat outside the front on next door’s house, making the place look untidy. But, as it’s outside next door’s house, making the place look not any more untidy that it already did. Which is handy. And also goes part of the way to explaining why we never brought it back round – it kind of suited being outside next door in all honesty.

I brought it back today, though. Partly because I was swapping it with the recycling bin and partly because I needed to empty the kitchen bin and it’s much easier to do when the main bin is in the back garden.

But when I went to collect it the cardinal neighbourhood sin has been committed.

Someone has used our bin already.

Now, I don’t really mind that because a bin is a bin and, in all honesty, we rarely fill ours to the top anyway because we’re either really good at waste management in this house or we forget to empty one of the larger non-food waste rubbish recepticles. But what I do mind is that there are two pizza boxes in the bin.

And pizza boxes are clearly recyclable.

I have this problem with Carole, sneaking empty drinks cans and cardboard packaging into the bin when I’m not looking, forcing me to go all environmental nazi and yank these things out of the bin and put them into green bin to be made into something else. But when the neighbours are at it as well…

What can I do? I don’t really fancy fishing around in the bin to remove their takeaway containers, in all honesty. I wouldn’t even have a look in the bins for that Pope the morning after he was spotted, so I’m less likely to be messing around with other people’s discarded food cartons but… well… I almost want to go round and  address these issues with them.

I don’t mind, I’d start off, with the fact that you’re using our bin as if it’s your own. I’m willing to overlook that because they are, after all, both black. And very similar to each other, except that ours has the number 24 painted on it and is much older looking that yours. But, you know, when you’re throwing out rubbish in your jimjams at three in the afternoon you really don’t have time to check these things. But where I draw the line, and I have to be quite firm on this, is your blatant disregard for the efforts I put in to recycling every last scrap of recyclable thing. And there’s you flinging not one, but two pizza boxes into the bin. Our bin but, as I said, I will overlook that. It’s almost as if you have no regard for the environment on which your children will grow into. And that’s without me pointing out that those generic pizza boxes generally aren’t associated with places that actually serve nice pizza and that you could probably do better with your food choices. I know they’re in the bin now – they’re staying there, I’m not going to start rooting about – and I’ve put other rubbish on top of them as if to hide the truth from myself. The fact that it now looks as if I – branded an environmental nazi by my own girlfriend – have thrown away those pizza boxes. To offset that I’m going to have to make sure that every tin, magazine insert and discarded drinks can goes in the recycling – only then will I be able to sleep at night.

But I won’t do that.

Because that’s the ranting of a mental person.


Taking The Piss Out Of Pumpkin

June 28, 2014

Today was round two of taking Pumpkin to the vets.

She’s got renal failure – diagnosed as of last week – so we’re currently on a “find out how bad it is and go from there” strategy at the moment where we need to, well, find out how bad it is and go from there, really. It’s a manageable condition, with diet and wotnot, but before we can get there we have to have a series of ludicrously expensive tests to find out what’s what.

So today was ludicrously expensive set of tests number 2.

The urine test.

In which the vet just casually sticks a needle into the cat’s bladder, draws off some urine and sends it away for testing.

And which most cats are fine with.

Obviously, knowing Pumpkin, we did not expect this to go well at all. Especially given the faff of trying to get her in the cat box when she kept doing the splayed out legs like when you’re trying to wash a dog. To say she was angry would have been a massive understatement. She might only have been growling and angrily meowing but if she was speaking English I suspect we’d have been called a large number of rude and unfair names.

And then, of course, once she’s in the box and we’ve left her to calm down, Peppa just kept walking past her with a kind of “look at me, I’m freeeeeeee” attitude to her walk, which left Pumpkin even more angry and growly, and determined to get out of the cat carrier by digging through the bottom.

And this was after we’d had to not let her eat anything last night, and not let her go for a wee this morning. Something which, I will be honest, I failed miserably at as I knelt at the edge of the cat litter tray pleading with her to stop pissing away everything we needed and debating, for the briefest of moments, finding something I could stick under her to catch all her widdle in for the vet, like an egg cup or something. But, as anyone will know, once you’ve started to wee the worst thing in the world you can do is stop mid-flow. It’s just not going to happen.

So I was massively pessimistic about the vet’s chances of getting anything out of her, as I was sent into the consulting room on my own while Carole busied herself looking at rabbits and things to take her mind off the trials and tribulations of Pumpkin’s condition.

And then the vet just took Pumps away, stuck a needle in her and brought her back.

I was relieved. Partly because she’d still had enough widdle in her to get a sample, but mainly because it meant we didn’t have to shell out some exorbitant fee to have her knocked out.

But I will admit to being a little bit disappointed as well.

You might be terminally ill, Pumpkin, but you still have a reputation to uphold!

 


See You Later, Alligator… In A While, Crocodile That Was Most Likely A Pet

June 27, 2014

I love a good news story expert. Someone who is drafted in by a news channel to help explain something in so much startling detail that the ordinary man on the street is just blown away by it all. They tend to do it when there’s been some kind of disaster because we normal people wouldn’t understand the full implications of the disaster unless there was an expert there to break it down for us.

Invariably, when these experts are drafted in on the back of some disaster or other, they are retired, but used to hold a position which may have allowed them some expertise in the area that the disaster relates to. For example, when helicopters crash, it’s usually a retired helicopter pilot they will draft in to run through what could have happened even though they will invariably have stopped flying helicopters shortly after the end of the war or something.

Today, I’ve very much enjoyed the expert drafted in on the back of the latest photo of the “crocodile” which lives in the River  Avon near Bristol. While Sky have tried to dismiss it as a log, they also felt the need to bring in a crocodile expert who said:-

“Assuming it’s a genuine sighting, it would almost have to be an escaped or released pet.”

Now, it’s just as well they have these experts to hand, because up until that point I was entirely of the belief that the UK has an almost never discussed species of crocodile living on these shores and that we had, up until this point, been blissfully unaware of its existence. Numerous small dogs and unattended children could have fallen foul to this UK Crocodile species of hitherto unknown existence. I was all but ready to lead a band of intrepid warriors, armed only with items we had to hand in our sheds, out into the wilds of the countryside to track down and kill ever last one of the scaly bastards.

You can imagine the embarrassment I felt when I had to contact the gang and ask them to stand down because it turns out that it’s probably just the one crocodile and more than likely used to be a pet. “Yeah,” I’d have to explain to the heated mob, “there was an expert on the news and he cleared up the whole thing.  No, I didn’t think it unlikely that there was a UK-based crocodile population that we’d never heard of, but there you go. The expert has spoken. Without him I wouldn’t have understood crocodiles.”

 


Bin Pope

June 26, 2014

You know when you see something and you’re fairly sure it’s going to be amazing, even from a distance? That happened to me tonight. It’s a short, four or five-minute walk from the bus stop to our house and, usually, the most exciting thing you see is a husky on a wall, or someone a bit weird in the park.

Not today, though.

Today someone has thrown out their statuette of the Pope.

You know how it works. Week 1 – black bin (general rubbish), Week 2 – green bin (recycling), Week 3 – golden bin (items pertaining to religion).

Clearly we’re on a week 3 collection and someone has had to part with their statue of Pope John Paul II for whatever reason. Maybe they’ve finally got the latest Pope action figure and Ol’ JP is just yesterday’s news. Or maybe it’s the fact that his right hand has, for some reason, been torn from his body, while his left hand is hanging precariously from his robe sleeve.

You have to wonder what fate has befallen the Pope that has caused so much damage to his hands, and whether – if it was a spontaneous act – I should have gathered up the statue and started selling tickets to see the miracle, self-harming Pope. Or someone knocked him over and then marveled that, as his hands shattered from his thing pottery arms, if almost looked as if he was trying to stop himself from falling.

If that was my Pope, I’d have maybe tried to fashion him so new hands out of modelling clay or something. Or maybe have seen if I could get a to scale model of one of those chambers scientists use where they have to put their arms into gloves through the side of the box. Then I could have set up Pope and box in such a way that no-one need know that his hands had broken off and I would still have this amazing icon in my house.

As it is, he’s consigned to not even being fully thrown out. He’s only on top of the bins. I mean,yes, there is a part of me that would like to think he was actually put inside one of the bins three days ago and has since risen again, but I suspect that’s not the case.

Primarily because the bin men came round that area on Tuesday, rather than for any other reason.

You also have to wonder who would want a statue of a Pope made mostly out of beige.

 

 


The ASBO wall

June 25, 2014

One of the things I enjoy the most, when visiting Halifax, is to take in the ASBO wall between the travel office and the toilets. This wall is, usually, a rogues gallery of ne’er-do-wells, miscreants, and gobshites. All these little spotty-faced youths who are so cool – so very, very cool – that they used to hang out and the bus station. Wooo! Cool kids.

And terrorise people.

But still, hanging out at the bus station. Wow. God, I wish I could have been more like you when I was younger.

But today there’s just one.

Just one miscreant. I mean, she’s been there for ages. So she is a bad apple and then some. She’s not allowed within a gazillion miles of the bus station. If she even goes near the edge of Woolshops she’ll be picked off by a sniper from atop the Town Hall. But all the others, all the ones who had her as a known associate because they were a gang -because gangs are cool, especially the ones that hang out at the bus station and shout rude words at people – have been freed from their prison behind the glass of the noticeboard and are able to run fee, causing mayhem and trouble wherever they go.

Now it’s all community notices and events and things.

There’s a cynical part of me that thinks they might have just cleaned up the board a bit for anyone visiting Halifax for the bike shenanigans next weekend. You know, what sort of impression would Halifax be giving if the first thing a visiting cycle aficionado sees is a wall of shits that he, or she, will then be all wary off for the extent of their visit.

Apart from that one girl that’s a right ol’ bitch or something. You should totally keep an eye out for her.

But as soon as the cycling people have passed and things get back to normal someone will leap, gazelle like, from Northgate House or some other council office with a stack of papers and a box of drawing pins, and re-establish the wall of shame in its full glory.

I mean, I refuse to believe that Halifax can only muster one bus station arsehole.

That can’t be right.

 


Snoring And Gnawing

June 24, 2014

Generally I’m alright with the concept of falling asleep on public transport.

I used to be really ashamed that it had befallen me and, should a bus stop suddenly and fling my head forward thus waking me up, I would pretend that I had a stiff neck and was merely rotating the joints to loosen myself up. In much the same way as when you run for a bus and miss it you should keep on running to make it look as if you were just running and not for any specific reason.

So I’ve heard, anyway. I obviously don’t do that.

And then there’s that time I fell asleep on the train on the way back from Glasgow, having been awake for thirty-something hours. And when I woke up, suddenly, I flung a hardback copy of a Lee Child novel into the aisle in shock.

But today I reached a new high.

Today I fell asleep on the bus on the way into work and managed to bite my tongue while snoozing.

I have never bitten my tongue while asleep before. Never. Ever. It’s just not something that happens.

But apparently this morning, I dozed off and somehow managed to gnaw on the left hand side of my tongue. Which then set me wondering if, as I dozed off, I’d had some sort of immediate dream in which I just sat on the bus with my eyes shut and started chuntering. I mean, no-one sat next to me for the entire journey, but I’m not sure if anyone looked relieved that I got off either.

So maybe I’ve imagined that in some sort of paranoid delusion.

Probably.

I didn’t imagine the tongue pain, though. Which is what woke me up.

So I definitely chewed on it. Unless someone crept up on me, as I dozed, and tried to steal my tongue. Which seems unlikely but the bus does go through some quite lugubrious areas…