There used to be a joke that the roster of the Sugababes changed so often that everyone would, at some point, be offered a chance to be part of the pop trio’s line-up.

And now, it’s starting to look that way with Trump’s White House staff.

It does look, to an outsider, like Trump still thinks he’s running a series of The Apprentice. He’s putting each member of staff through a series of tricky challenges and then meeting with his advisors – in this case, his creepy Stepford-eque daughter and son-in-law – before deciding whether people should stay or go.

It’s crazy town.

And what’s more worrying is that all this is happening while I am about to start looking for a job – I know, it’s probably about time I did something. If I submit my CV to recruitment agencies am I going to be called in and asked to be the White House communications secretary because no-one else will do it. Or there’s no-one left to do it. Or, like jury duty, your name comes off a list and unless you have a pretty good excuse then you’re in it for the next week or so, or longer if it gets juicy.

I’d rather be a member of the Sugababes, if I’m honest.


Cat Sitter Sitter

My mum is coming to house sit for the week we’re up in Edinburgh enjoying the sights, sounds and sniggers of the Fringe.

She was always meant to be coming over – it was an idea that we floated before anything stroke related took place. But we’d kind of thought that it wasn’t going to happen and were looking for the best alternative for looking after Peppa that didn’t involve the crushing heartbreak of putting her in a cattery – we did it once and it was traumatic for everyone concerned (and the lady in charge was NOT amused when I told her, quite accurately, that Peppa was very fond of lemon meringue pie).

At one point we were considering asking the OCD neighbour to do it, which would have been fine to a point. That point being that our house is not an OCD sufferer’s best friend. It’s eclectic, which is not just a posh way of saying untidy. It has things everywhere – again, not untidy – which represent our passions. And it’s fine to us – but for an outsider, especially one who cuts the edges of her lawn with scissors because she used a strimmer once and it nearly blinded her (how’s that for a superhero origin story) it would be a nightmare. Why, for example, are there a collection of Batman lego figures on one side of the room and some more on the other side? Shouldn’t they all be together? Why aren’t they together. Oh god, please put them together.

What I’m saying, is that my fear for an OCD cat-sitter is that we’d come back to find the house rearranged, probably alphabetically. Post would be stacked up in size order, books arranged by height and colour. Or, worse, the Dewey Decimal system.

So, instead, mum’s doing it.

She’s insisted on it, because it’s part of her gaining independence, so it makes sense in a way. It is, of course, laced with danger – we have stairs, mother does not. We have a gas cooker, mother does not. We have a cat which is basically a mobile trip hazard, mother does not. All of these things will be keeping Carole awake at night. Especially the gas cooker, which she has already banned my mum from using.

So instead of getting next door to keep an eye on Peppa, we’ve got next door to keep an eye on my mum keeping an eye on Peppa.

I not sure that’s the most efficient way of doing things and, as I say, I’m not sure that anyone with OCD should be allowing into our house but at least we can blame my mother for anything that she encounters…

It’s All Geek To Me

It’s always a little disconcerting to be having a wee next to Thor.

That can only mean one thing – Manchester Comic Con.

We were back at the Manchester Comic Con after an aborted attempt to go last year as one of Carole’s friends rather cruelly decided to have a baby shower on the same day, and it was as much fun as ever. Although I do feel that having done the London one in October last year we have kind of ruined Manchester a little bit – Manchester Comic Con just feels more cramped because the venue is nowhere near the size of Excel, obviously.

But having said that, it was still pretty darn good.

And it was another year in which Carole went round insisting that we go in costume next time – my suggestion of getting myself a spandex suit and going as a middle-aged portly Spider-man (cunningly called Wider-man) didn’t go down all that well, so I get it will be back to the drawing board. I don’t think, though, that I’ll ever top my stellar idea of us both dressing the same and going as Jedward Scissorhands, especially since Jedward keep popping up in Sharknado – that makes them legitimate nerd fodder.

We play a game, on the way to Comic Con, much like when you are going to the seaside. The first person to spot someone who is definitely going wins. I sat next to Beast from X-Men on the train, while Ash from Pokémon and Lightning from Final Fantasy sat across the aisle. So I’m pretty sure I won.

Not that the train was all fun and games. There was a guy on the train, let’s call him Flared-Trousers McKnowItAll for no specific reasons, who just wouldn’t shut the fuck up. All the way there he was spouting absolute bullshit in tandem with the passenger opposite about almost everything – the amount of tickets sold for Comic Con, the queuing times if you don’t have a ticket, various comic book characters old and new versions, and how proud he was to have failed two degrees.

Probably not as proud as his parents.

The thing is, you sort of wanted to apologise to all the Muggles on the train. To go up to them and say, “even though this man is clearly going to the same place that we…” pointing to Beast, Ash Ketchum et al, “… are going, he doesn’t speak for us. He is not the voice of our people. Pay him no heed. Especially at that bit when he decided that spiders who lived both outdoors and in houses were amphibious. That was just pure unadulterated arseholery. We sincerely apologise for any discomfort you ears may have suffered in these tricky times.”

Argos It

Sometimes I worry about the sort of people who shop online.

Today I took to the internet to purchase an exercise bike or, more accurately, a mini exercise bike. Which is not a bike at all, but just some pedals. You provide a chair and you can pedal as you go about your normal sitting down stuff.

As long as that does not involve anything resting on your knees.

I went with Argos, so I could take advantage of the fast track delivery. Tge Argos website, as many do, allows you to ask questions. Like the people who review milk on Sainsbury’s website, these people should not be allowed to use the internet.

Can you use it standing up, someone asked. If you need to ask this, you shouldn’t be buying a mini exercise bike. It should be obvious that you can’t use it standing up. Just because it’s so obvious and, more importantly, it’s not a BMX you’re trying to get up  big hill.

Someone else asked if a member of the Argos team could put it together for them. It has two pedals which need screwing on. That is it.

Will it wake people up? What are the exact dimensions? What is the operating speed?

How did people get by in the old days, when you couldn’t ask questions online.? When you had to employ common sense to work out if something could be stood on safely, or whether you should use power tools late at night or opt to let people sleep.

The Argos website is killing common sense. We’re all doomed.

Pigeon Street

So today nearly became “pigeon in the house day”. It was only avoided because the pigeon made a noise – which, in all honesty, sounded like a sneeze – which alerted me to its presence which, in turn, scared it away.

Not that this pigeon is particularly fearful, as it and Peppa both just sat chilling in the garden earlier with no regard for the hunter-huntee relationship which should exist between them.

I have, for lack of anywhere else to hang it at the moment, put one of the bird feeders on a hanging basket hook directly outside the back door. It is, it would appear, quite popular as it empties almost as quickly as I can fill it. I assume it is birds, but the glass in the back door is patterned so you can’t really see anything more than a blur. For all I know it’s a pack of squirrels just going to town on it all.

Either way – bird or squirrel – there are elements of the seed mix that they don’t like. And, like a badly brought up child, they just spit them out all over the place. Or, more correctly, the back doorstep.

But, pigeons being nature’s waste disposal – a flying goat, if you will – they will eat anything. Which includes the large quantity of corn that has been spat out of tiny beaks. Which is all well and good. But when you, as a home owner, have the back door open to let a bit of air into the house – as I often do – it does offer an easy entrance for any sort of winged creature that we are now luring to the door with offers of food.

Not, of course, that this house is a stranger to being visited by feathered creatures. Few can forget the terrifying ordeal of just sitting playing on the Xbox when a blackbird flew in front of me and directly into the living room window. The bird in question, having been brought in by Peppa was then recaptured by our feline pal and taken on a tour of the house – including a little bit of free time in the bedroom – before being taken back to the open back door and let free (whether intentional or accidental is up for debate).

And, of course, the house is no stranger to animals just meandering in when the door is open. Who can forget the time a ginger cat came into the house at some point unbeknownst to us and made itself at home somewhere (we still have no idea where) for, potentially, hours before just strolling casually through the front room and upstairs where it met Peppa. All the while, Carole and myself just stared at each other as though seeking confirmation that what we had seen happen had happened. The cat fight and mad scramble out of the cat flap sort of proved it, I suppose. It’s probably the closest we’ve come to “winning” another cat – after all, if it’s in our house it’s ours, right?

I’m not sure it’ll be so cute if I accidentally let the pigeon in…