On Sunday, we had the please of Carole’s niece for company.

After lying to her face by claiming that we weren’t currently in possession of one particular Xbox game that she always wants to play – but not properly – we did a series of things which put a smile on her otherwise worried countenance.

Among those was a trip to the games shelf and a few rounds of a game called Poo. A ridiculously simple game in which you play as a monkey who flings poo at other monkeys. You reach 15 pieces of poo, you’re out of the game.

I lost.


To a child.

Who I was explaining the different cards to.

And to Carole. Who I wasn’t explaining the cards to.

I don’t think I should bother with any sort of board game. If I can’t even manage to beat someone who a) has never even played the game before and b) doesn’t understand the cards then who will I be able to beat?

Not that it’s the winning that counts, of course. It’s just the taking part. But I’ve been taking part for weeks and weeks now, and frankly that sucks balls. I want to win. I’ve seen how happy it makes people. I want some of that. I want to be able to lift my head high and know that, for example, I bested a child at a card game they had never played before.

But I can’t.

The games we played the weekend aren’t included in the year’s tally for Carole and myself. Which, incidently, currently stands at:

Carole 9

Jake 1

If they were included, then it would be

Carole 10

Jake 1

Milly 1

Which, at least, would put me in joint last. But still…

I don’t know why I bother.





The world is rapidly going to hell in a handbasket.

I think that setting the Doomsday clock to only 2 and a half minutes to the midnight of total annihilation is probably overly generous. Climate change denying, a ban on muslims and who knows what else to come isn’t the greatest start to 2017.

And we all thought that 2016 was pretty shit…

And as if all that’s not bad enough, from Wednesday, I won’t be able to watch episodes of Fast and Loud, Wheeler Dealers or randomly old Overhaulin’ because Sky has told Discovery to do one over a dispute around the amount of money paid for the channels. Where am I supposed to get my “not at all interested in it, but it’s strangely addictive” fix for car restoration/betterment shows now, if I can’t flick to the 520s on Sky and guarantee I’ll find one. If it’s not a show about weird people in Alaska?

Exactly. Nowhere.

Well, maybe on Quest or Pick or whatever it’s called. But who knows where that channel is located.

This is probably the biggest blow to my professional resting career so far.

I suppose it does mean that I will be more inclined to travel my way towards History and H2, where I will find all the alien shows I could possibly want – all of them entirely grounded and not at all sensationalised – but it’s still not people with eccentric hair tinkering with cars.

I don’t even like cars.




Carole’s not a happy bunny today.

Peppa has become “my cat” this afternoon. Which means, in layman’s terms, that she’s done something that she shouldn’t have done.

My first thought, I’ll be honest, was that she’d done something in the back bedroom. Because even I, a champion of “aww she’s just a cat” defence, couldn’t hope to hold back the wrath of Carole when faced with claw marks in the wallpaper. I took a massive chunk out of the paper a day or two after we’d finished it up and I was genuinely scared about what would happen. So I couldn’t hope to defend Peppa.

But, luckily, she’d not done anything in there. A bullet had been dodged.

What she had done, instead, was add a new pattern to the duvet on our bed. Where once it was a lovely green colour with subtle white spots, it is now a lovely green colour with subtle white spots and a trail of muddy paw prints across the centre of it. And, it turns out, across anything in the path.

A bit like those “you only had one job” pictures of yellow lines painted along the side of roads that go over dog poo or whatever. But with cat paws across duvets, technological equipment, magazines, papers left out… you name it, it has been branded with the paw print seal of approval.

And while it’s annoying because it’s all over the duvet, the bed is due for a change in the next couple of days anyway so it’s not the end of the world. And, as someone who’s woken up to find muddy paw prints across his body, just having them on the duvet is fine ┬áby me!

I love my cat.

Kitchen Of Dreams

I’ve reached an age – and, I guess, a passion for these sort of things – where I am genuinely excited by new stuff for the kitchen.

I thought, some years ago, that I couldn’t be any more excited than I was for the four slot toaster we invested in. A huge step up from the boring two slotter we used to have. I honestly don’t know how we even coped with a two slot toaster before this. Who only ever has two slices of toast. Not than you can have toast anymore because, you know, cancer. Along with fluffed up potatoes for roasties.

You know what, if toast and crisp roasties are going to give me cancer then so be it. I ain’t giving those beauties up.

Anyway, the four slot toaster was a high spot in my life.

And then last week I invested in a flour shaker so that I could shake flour about on my work surfaces without the need to do the big Paul Hollywood flourish like I’m trying to skim a stone across a pond when all I really want to do is get a bit of flour on the worktop.

And I was excited about that.

I used it the other day and it is a thing of flour spreading beauty. I don’t know how I could ever go back to manual flour spreading ever again.

And then today. Today was magical. The six hole egg poacher. And upgrade to our previous toaster of, in Dungeons & Dragons terms, +2 eggs. We needed a new poacher anyway because someone boiled it dry the other day and managed to melt one of the poaching cups. And because it was made just before the end of the 19th Century by the looks of it.

The new one is so shiny.

So very shiny. And the poaching cups feel like they’re actually in it for the long haul rather than the flimsy plastic ones which clearly just melt if you look at them funny. I mean, it’s almost too sexy a pan to actually use when you look at it.

And now we have a six hole poacher, if we want to do a full round of poached eggs on toast, the four slot toaster isn’t going to cut the mustard.

I genuinely thought that I couldn’t get more excited than I was about the six hole poacher.

And then I started to look at six slice toasters…

These Sticks Are Made For Walking

So, not content with the Diabetes Lottery, I also saw an advert yesterday for the “hurrycane”. A walking stick that uses “well, I don’t know if you’d call it technology” (as one of the women says) to provide stability to the elderly.

That’s one of the problems with daytime television. A lot of it is geared towards the elderly and mainly, in a cheery way, the impending end of their lives. I have seen so many adverts about the costs of funerals that I am now thinking that we seriously short-changed my dad when it came to his. The one I currently like the best is one in which some post has been delivered next door by accident and they get into a conversation which, as naturally as you like, includes the words “over 50s life cover” at least four times, ending with “Well, maybe I’ll look at the over 50s life cover as well”. Which is totally something you would say.

So, they hurrycane can allow the elderly or infirm to walk across a variety of surfaces with ease – sand, rocks, gravel, rocks, broken glass, tightropes, pavements, tiles, ROCKS, and rocks. It features, basically, a wide end with little feet on it that has a wider surface area than a normal walking stick. That’s the first thing. It means an old person can walk on the beach without their stick going into the sand like a hot drawing pin into butter.

They can also work across uneven rocks. Because it’s purely a normal walking stick that prevents that.

The technology (if you can call it that, see above) that makes the hurrycane so special is a ball-joint at the base, which allows it to angle for any terrain. Like rocks.

Now, I am not much of an expert when it comes to the wobbly nature of the infirm, but when you’re trying to use a stick to stay upright, surely giving it a joint which offers quite a range of orbital movement is just asking for an instance in which the stick slides out at an angle and the person holding it falls over.

Face first.

Probably onto those rocks.