Feb 21, 2019: Fry

Sometimes I just think the universe is out to get me. I’ve probably made that clear over the years – I think it knows when I have plans that can be derailed, or if I’m in a rush. Or if I’d like to spend fifty minutes on a bus for discernible reason on a twenty minute ride. I mean, honestly. This morning was mental – I take back everything I’ve ever said about pensioners slowing buses down, it’s fricking kids on half term holidays that bugger everything up.

And every now and again I think the universe goes “Hey, what’s a thing you like?” and I’ll tell it and then it goes, “Hey, I wonder what Stephen Fry thinks about that?” Like the Harry Potter books – I don’t want him to read them to me, thank you.

Today, I discovered, he’s a bloody guest star in the new series of Doctor Who.

Because of course he bloody is.

He’s bloody everywhere. Like James Corden. It’s one or the other. I don’t think you can have them both in the same space because they’ll vanish up each other’s arseholes while discussing how amazing they are and tear a hole in the space-time continuum.

Which, then, Fry will pop back through and explain to us silly ninny-muffins because Stephen Fry knows everything.

I don’t know if I’d made it quite clear, but Stephen Fry annoys me.

You can’t pick up anything these days without a little quote from the great man somewhere, saying it’s marvellous or brilliant or amazing. I don’t want to know what Stephen Fry thinks of a book I’m going to read. I don’t care. If anything, it puts me off because he’s bloody read it and if I’m not careful I’ll be able to sense the echo of his smug face looking back at me through the texts.

Nor do I want to discover the Greek myths retold as only Stephen Fry could.

Which I take to be unnecessarily.

The Greek myths have stood the test of time without being rewritten, that’s the beauty of them. They don’t need to be rewritten. I don’t think, when they were first told, someone said, “I mean, these are alright, but they really need to be redone by someone who really would like everyone to know he is the cleverest person in the room at all times, ever, no matter the room.”

And now he’s going to be in Doctor Who.

I feel violated.





I feel cheated by Amazon Prime. Cheated.

Whenever Carole orders something, and she’s not in but I am, it’s always eight stops away at some ungodly hour in the morning, when I’d rather be lying in bed and half-dreaming about things that, even days later, will have me thinking “What the hell was all that about?”

Well, that’s what she tells me, anyway. It’s probably just a ruse to stop me enjoying too much of my day in a horizontal position. One time the package was eight stops away, and currently in Sheffield, so there is some evidence to support that.

But whenever I get stuff delivered, and get up for it because I don’t want to be caught out by a notification that they’re in the next street over and I can’t get trousers on quick enough, it doesn’t arrive until waaaaay into the afternoon.

We’re both using the same delivery service… but she seems to be getting much better luck on the deliveries!

Today I was stuck in a limbo between making a loaf of bread, painting a door and getting this parcel. Each one needed to be dealt with separately so as to prevent cross-contamination. There’s nothing more annoying that getting a delivery just after you’ve plunged your hands into sticky bread dough, and likewise there’s probably few things that can top the annoyance of kneading some paint into the dough, or dough into the paint. Or getting paint on your delivery. Or everything you touch on the way to the delivery.

Usually when I have that many balls in the air, the cosmic gods then provide me with a shift at work (See Monday) which means I have to abandon everything and head into town. I’m surprised, genuinely, that I made it through the day uninterrupted. Although there was one point where I had convinced myself the delivery wouldn’t come until tonight, when Carole was running me into work for a late shift.

Because that’s the way things work, isn’t it?


Feb 19, 2019: Dental

I got an email the other day regarding the future of my dentist’s practice. The email was headed up in such a way that it provided just the right amount of dread to make you open it and read it.

And then when you do it’s just that it might be moving across town into what used to be a Chinese buffet.

Because I want nothing more than to have my teeth looked at in a building that smells faintly of sweet and sour.

But, it would appear, the denizens of Halifax are up in arms about this.

They can’t understand why there is going to be another dentist in the town centre when what Halifax really needs, apparently, is a Primark.

What I like best about this is that, as with many things, conclusions have been leapt to and no-one’s really read anything. It’s not another dentist. It’s the same dentist, just moved. People keep saying that there’s already two dentists on the other side of town. Which there is, and that’s very much the point. They’re the same practice, for all intents and purposes, so putting them in one building makes so much more sense.

Unless you’re desperate for a Primark.

In which case you can rage for days.

The thing is, though, every time I go to Halifax more and more of it is shut. More and more shops have vanished, and all those new shops that were built out towards the bus station lie empty. The ones at the bottom of Woolshops, presumably, are occupied. But who goes down there unless they absolutely have to? Especially since there’s no longer the escalator up through Woolies. Primarily because there’s not a Woolies. But that’s by the by.

If only there was a Primark, though.

Because that’s what Halifax is lacking.

It used to have a bustling market, that would see you having to dodge around people to make it from top to bottom. Now it’s by far the quietest route through the town centre. There are hardly any customers and little in the way of stalls. Mainly just the butchers clinging on. There’s probably a higher percentage of meat product in the market than there is anywhere else in town, purely because aside from a couple of shops selling trousers and some veg, there’s cock all else.

Primark, that’s what they need.

But instead, it’s just going to be my cash-hungry dentist’s but with even more opportunity to get their greedy little paws on money as they’ll be open for new customers and walk-ins. Which, to me, sounds like a recipe for dental disaster. It’s hard enough to get an appointment as it is, let alone when there’s a steady stream of unregistered idiots popping in to see if they can have seventeen fillings.

The email states that the move will enable them to provide everything we – the customer – would need and expect from a dentist.

These are the things I need or expect: A dentist, a chair to sit in, the sucky machine thing, assorted dentist tools and a sink.

The move to the ex-Chinese Buffet, though, means that it’s all of that AND floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the road outside the bus station so passing motorists and bus passengers can see us all writhing around…

… Knowing my dentist (and MyDentist) probably for a small fee.


Feb 18, 2019: Rush

I found myself doing a bit of a speed run into town today to run a game for a lovely father-daughter pairing. The booking came in at short notice – probably because I’d planned out my day extensively – and left me with not very long at all to get into town and set up.

But I managed it, because I’m awesome.

Normally when I’m working I set off from home about an hour and a half before the game’s start time. This then gives me enough time to get the bus in, go to the supermarket beforehand if necessary, and get the rooms set up for the teams to play in. Not to mention time to turn on the kettle, leave it to boil, realise it’s not plugged in, plug it in, boil it, forget about the fact I was making a drink, reboil it and make a drink. Possibly the most important part of the whole set-up process.

It does seem excessive – and I know it does – but there have been occasions when I’ve still been waiting for the bus twenty or thirty minutes after leaving, and in those instances it never seems like I’ve left too early. I also like to build in a bit of redundancy for when I’m at work because things use technology and technology can, sometimes, be an absolute git. And you don’t want to be rushing around trying to fix something… a calm approach is much better. Until it really annoys you, anyway, and then fury and violence are the answer.

Today the bus showed up quite swiftly. I didn’t have my usual time because it was very short notice. I’d had the fastest shower and get ready I could possibly manage. You know, one of those that’s at the speed you do it when you get up late and still manage to get into work on time but don’t want to make a habit of it. That sort of speed.

I got on the bus, sat down as was idly looking at things on my phone.

It was only when I looked up and saw a man rushing to the front of the bus that I realised that the bus had taken an entirely wrong route. The rushing man was, of course, leaping into action to inform the driver of this.

I, meanwhile, already aware of time’s swift passage am sitting there thinking, “Well, of course it bloody has. Of course this bus has to be the one to take the wrong route…”

It found somewhere to swing round – clumsily – and went back on to the correct route again. It was only a detour of a minute or two. But then I looked out of the window again, and there were several people at the bus stop that it had missed.

My heart sank a bit.

Because there’s nothing people at bus stops love to do more than talk to the driver about why the bus before hasn’t come, the bus after won’t come, there are birds in the sky, whether there’s life on Mars or why the bus has gone the wrong way.

And it’s considered incredibly rude – I would imagine – to stand in the aisle, towards the back – and shout “I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS SHIT!” at each of the dear, sweet old ladies who are getting on and saying the same things to the driver, and all who appear to NOT HAVE THEIR PASSES READY.

But hey, I got in to work in plenty of time. Not as early as I would have liked or been happy with, but all the time I needed to do the kettle thing.

I even managed to add an extra step where I set it to boil and then unplugged it myself so it wouldn’t boil, thinking that its plug was for one of the battery chargers which has an entirely different-looking plug.

Feb 17, 2019: Bread

Another week, another shopping order.

This one was quite a stripped down one, really. We have a lot of food that can be made into meals in cupboards and freezers, so it was just a matter of getting things like kitchen rolls and other kitchen essentials alongside some fresh stuff.

A nice, easy shop that couldn’t go wrong at all.

So obviously we didn’t get any bread.

I’d ordered bread so that we could have some lunch. Just a fresh loaf. Nothing fancy – well, it was Mediterranean bread so I guess it was a smidge fancy. But they didn’t have it. And you know what – there were NO suitable substitutes.

For bread.

In hindsight, ordering a fresh loaf for a Sunday delivery is probably taking a bit of a punt anyway. I suspect that they run a diminished bakery department on a Sunday, so anything out of the ordinary is chancing an arm or two but having said that, we’ve had a small bag of cranberries as a substitute for raisins, and celery instead of pak choi.

So why couldn’t we just have a different sort of bread in place of bread?

It’s not too much of a stretch, surely.

Just because we’d ordered what I think is bread with sun-dried tomatoes, it sent the whole thing into a spiral of disappointment. The computers won’t have been able to cope. The substitution algorithm will have just fractured. Whereas they could have just sent plain bread. White bread. Bloomer or loaf. And everything would have been fine.

Instead, we were forced – FORCED – to have toasted hot cross buns with bacon which is one of the nicest things you can possibly have. As those items were actually in stock and arrived. And because I can think quickly on my feet when it comes to not having to go out and find another source of bread.

Carole is upset with me because she would have, as she put it, had a word with the driver about it. I didn’t. I just accepted the fact that we were left bereft of the doughy stuff and carried on like normal. But Carole loves to chat to the drivers about how the eggs are always smashed or that it’s ridiculous they can’t substitute things properly.

I just want to get the stuff out of the baskets and into the house as quickly as possible.