Something Fishy (well, mammaly)

I do enjoy the comparable sizes that people give to things.

My favourite is when I am told that a certain thing is the length of x number of football pitches. Mainly because I have no idea how big a football pitch is, nor do I intend to find out. If they just told me the length of the item in question, I’d have a much better idea of it using standard units of measurement than a piece of grass that overpaid numpties play on for ninety minutes.

As tall as three double decker buses. That’s another one.  That’s not as bad, because you have a rough idea of the height of a double decker bus. You can visualise that. It’s not so easy visualising what three double decker buses stacked on top of each other would look like because it’s not a concept you ever come across in your daily life, but still it’s often a scale of measurement used when putting across the size of dinosaurs, for some reason.

And then today, an asteroid has missed the Earth by several thousand miles. But that counts as a close shave, a narrow escape, a near miss. It was an asteroid capable of destroying a city – presumably if it hit the Earth in the area of a city, I don’t think it would just arbitrarily destroy a city if it landed in the sea, or a desert. But you never know with space rocks do you?

Anyway, this asteroid was the size of a whale.

You know what, sod off.

The size of a whale? That’s not a legitimate unit of measurement. It’s not. Partly because, many times, whale sizes are often expressed in bus lengths, but also because it hasn’t specified the type of whale. Was it a Minke, a Sperm or a Blue? I mean, with its city destroying back-story, it should have been a Killer. But you can’t just whack a measurement on something when the unit of measurement you’re using comes in all sorts of different sizes.

Also, even having seen the blue whale at the Natural History Museum several (lots) times, I couldn’t say I really knew how big it was. Because it’s not something I come across on a daily basis. It’s like the person who spotted it, and catalogued it and measured it thought, “Hey, what’s the least spacey object I can use to accurately portray the size of this death rock? Oh, I know, a whale.”

And when his colleagues (or her, I don’t know) asked what sort of whale (s)he shrugged off the question because they don’t do sea-based mammals, just space stuff.

Also capable of destroying a city. Again, that’s a bit vague isn’t it. Not all cities are the same. Much as not all whales are the same. I mean, to me, this seems like a story which set out with a very distinctive set of measurements in it – an asteroid this big which could destroy an area covering this radius, and someone has dumbed it down using Google to find comparative sizes for the type of sea creature and the destructive area.

Whale – City

Dolphin – Large Town

Tuna – Small Town

Cod – Village

Clownfish – House

You get the idea.







Snow Country For Cold Men

It’s snowed. Primarily down south, but it’s snowed. And the whole country has lost its shit.

That’s the one thing about the snowy weather that you can absolutely guarantee. Our – as a nation – response to snowy weather is absolutely terrible. Everything grinds to a halt because it’s a bit snowy. And it’s not even half as snowy as it used to be when I was a kid. That’s when snow was snow. When snow drifts could be huge, and kids could earn coin from their neighbours for clearing their driveways.

And now we get a bit of a flurry, maybe a couple of inches of ground snow and nothing can happen. At all.

And god forbid it falls anywhere around London. Because then all bets are off. The capital city of our great country grinds to a halt because it’s a bit nippy outside, the sky is grey and fluffy white precipitate falls from the sky. A city which houses people who work every hour that god gives because they’re dedicated high flying executives, but once they can’t get any traction in their grip-less dress shoe they’re absolutely screwed.

My parental home is on the top of a hill in Halifax. We used to get proper snow. Buses would stop and we’d have to walk halfway home from wherever we’d been because gritters and snow ploughs hadn’t made it anywhere near our house. I’m not talking Hannah Hauxwell levels of snow, and having to trudge through it all with a bale of hay on our backs, but it was a decent amount. Many a time it would go over the top of your wellies, causing snow to fall down inside the boot and make your feet wet.

It was awesome.

Nowadays we get nothing like that. Nothing at all. But at the first sign of a flurry everything closes in case someone slips and the roads gridlock because everyone immediately races for their cars to get home before they are trapped. And then can’t work out how to drive in snowy conditions.

On the news today, incidentally, their was a reporter on the M25 explaining the effect of the weather and the newsreader said “There is traffic there, but it doesn’t appear to be moving quickly?” As it shouldn’t. Because it’s poor road conditions. Dick head.

We as a country stand up in the face of terrorism. Everyone changes their Facebook profile pictures to show solidarity with Manchester, or London, or wherever. Which is a great and admirable thing. It’s amazing.

Nothing can beat us.

As a nation we are unstoppable.

As long as the weather’s alright. Otherwise we’re screwed.


Ice Twice Baby

I’d booked the shopping to come at an ungodly hour this morning. There are a variety of reasons behind that decision, none of which actually came to pass today. So I could have booked it for later and had a couple of hours more in a nice warm bed instead of testing the temperature levels around the house and banging the heating on for several more hours.

Carole was going out, though, so I thought I would be helpful to her and de-ice the car, because she hates doing it. I mean, you wouldn’t know she does, because she almost never mentions it, or brings up the fact that when we used to go to work together I would quite often de-ice the car for her. Almost never. Honestly, I think even if you asked her about it directly, she would just shrug it off. It never, ever comes up.

At the time, it was a good ninety minutes before Carole was setting off, but I seeing as I was up and still waiting for the shopping to arrive, I headed outside (no coat, just a t-shirt because I am well ‘ard) and began the fun and not-at-all tedious process of removing the ice from the windscreen.

To be fair, it was quite a thin layer of ice. It moved quite easily. There have been times over the past week when I’ve heard Carole outside scraping at the ice and it’s sounded like she’s cutting wood because it’s been so thick. And on those mornings I’ve just burrowed a little further under the duvet and gone back to sleep.

But there I was, scraping away. I broke out the log scraper that dad bought for Carole a while ago but, I think, has remained unused. It has a scraper end and a brush end. It cost something close to a pound. And it’s ace. It means you don’t have to lean across the car and freeze any of your delicate areas while you’re getting to all the areas of the windscreen. And you can brush away the dislodged ice dust with a flick of the wrist.

I was so impressed with it, I upgraded its status in the car from “in the boot” to “somewhere in the front but not sure where because it doesn’t really fit”. It’s probably back in the boot now, but I tried.

So I did all that. And it was cold. It was not t-shirt weather. But, as I say, I am hard. And I cleared the car of ice. And I returned inside triumphant. And then the shopping turned up. So I dealt with that. And then I told Carole I had de-iced the car and she was thankful.

And then she still had a while to go before she was leaving.

And the bastard car froze up again.

I mean…



Sweet, Sweet Nectar

Today’s been one of those days where you unexpectedly discover you have nearly sixty-eight pounds of Nectar points that you didn’t know you had.

In other words, absolute bloody win.

Carole and I have lived together for over ten years now. For most of that time, every time we have shopped at Sainsbury’s we have used a Nectar card to collect points. When we are together, or when it’s an online shop, we use the card in Carole’s purse. When Carole picks anything up she uses her card. When I get anything, I use my card.

For the past ten years, I have believed – apparently wrongly – that our cards linked to the same account. I don’t remember ever getting a Nectar card off my own back prior to starting my relationship with Carole. The only loyalty card I had – or so I thought – was one for Game because, well, duh. Of course I would have that. I’ve had that since I was at University. Any other loyalty card, though, I have scoffed at and avoided like the plague.

So when the hell did I get a Nectar Card?

But whenever I did, I have been using it religiously for everything – whether it’s a small purchase or something larger I’ve been beeping my card through the checkout and collecting the points. And I have thought that these points have been contributing to previous Christmases and other exciting things like new irons and clothes airers. Things you begrudge paying real money for, but it’s it’s bonus money you’ve earned along the way then it’s all good.

But no. I have just been amassing a mound of unused nectar points which I have been resting atop like a dragon on a mound of gold. And I only found out because I was trying to get a voucher for some money off to show up on this week’s online shop and it wouldn’t. Which caused investigations and comparisons and bewilderment.

And I still don’t know when the hell I got a Nectar card? I guess it’s not a memorable event anyway, but you’d think I’d have had a vague idea that the card I’ve been using or presenting when Carole can’t find hers, with a jovial “here, use mine”, wasn’t contributing to the  same account. I feel as though I have betrayed our shopping.

How many other loyalty cards have I got that I don’t know about? I know I was strong-armed into a Holland and Barrett one once when I bought some malt extract.

But I mean, what do I do if I have a – shudder – Boots Advantage card? I think that would be the final straw.

My Brain Belongs In Kingston Falls

I was consumed with guilt and regret last night after I wrote my blog.

Not straight away, though, it took a while to manifest. There I was sitting doing something else that had nothing to do with anything and boom, it just hit me.

I wrote yesterday’s blog, as I often do, with the body first and the title after. If you get updates as to when these things go live you’ll probably have realised that because every now and again I have an itchy trigger finger and post the blog before I’ve written a title. I do it this way because I don’t really know what’s going to happen when I put finger to keyboard or, even if I know where I’m starting, I rarely – if ever – know where it will end. I might come up with something, mid-blog, that sends it in an entirely different direction.

So yesterday was about Peppa and making the bed. Or how you can’t because every time you try to there’s a cat on it. See also laptops, books, magazines, shopping lists, notepads… the list goes on and on, and it will always have a cat on it.

So I wrote it and I had not title. I sat and tried to think of something.

In the end I went with The Truth About Cats And Duvets.

A play, I decided, on the film title “The Truth About Cats And Dogs”.

And then as I say, later on that same evening, my brain just went, “Hey, why didn’t you call ‘The Truth About Cats And Togs’ because duvets are rated by the tog system?”

And I died a little inside.

I wanted to boot up my laptop and re-do the title. I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide away from the fact that I had missed an obvious, and genius, pun. My brain was just revelling in the brilliance of it all, enjoying the fact that it had essentially ruined my evening by belatedly coming up trumps with something.

I put it down to the machinations of the inconsistent brain chemistry – not my ability to come up with the pun in the first place, or second place, but the fact that having then come up with it I felt such a crashing wave of misery at having not used it. The brain chemistry gremlins, mixing their concoctions, had added just a little too much self-doubt and loathing to the mix last night, I think. They could have just left me be. They could have let me think of it, laugh about it and move on. They have done that in the past – I think of something far funnier than what I have already sent into the ether and I just move past it.

Not last night though.

Bastard Gremlins.