Friday, November 30, 2007

Ebay Is Evil

I’m supposed to be shopping on-line for Christmas presents for my nearest and dearest so why is it I’ve just blown a good £100 on Ebay buying tat for myself?

I do the same thing every year and then (a) feel guilty at the amount of money I’ve spent on myself – which isn’t to say that I haven’t lavished far more of my hard earned moolah on my loved ones than on greedy old, little old me – and then (b) spend January feeling glum, broke and abstemious in an attempt to restore the balance.

As far as I’m concerned me and Ebay are lethal.

It all starts off innocently enough. Ooh, I think, I’ll just have a little punt on this item here and bingo I bid a couple of quid. Suddenly that most gossamer of connections between me and “the dream item” becomes intractable and concrete in my head. The item is MINE. MINE I tell you. How dare someone gazump me with a higher bid! I’ll just venture a few more pounds...

But £5 is absolutely my ceiling. No question of going any higher.

Damn. Outbid.

Ok. Ok. £10 is my absolute ceiling.

Poo. Right. £15...

Etc, etc.

By the time I’ve finished I’m foaming at the mouth but victorious and have blown £40 on something that I’m not sure is really essential in the first place.

And I do the same thing every bloody year!

No wonder I normally avoid Ebay like the plague.

Bah humbug.

Anybody care to purchase a genuine Royal Doulton Toby Jug? Only two careful owners...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Interestingly, despite my last post being about “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” the comments to it digressed into a discussion about the BBC’s new period drama, Cranford and, more specifically, about England’s finest actress (in my opinion), Julia Sawalha... which just goes to show that when faced with a mountain of crap most people determinedly turn their backs on it and reach for something excellent instead.

Good on you, people.

Ever eager to capitalize on whatever topic of interest floats my reader’s boats I thought I might compose a small paean to Julia as I’ve been a huge fan of hers since her Press Gang days.

Press Gang, for those of you who don’t know, was mislabelled a kid’s programme back in the late eighties / nineties and was broadcast on ITV during their after school tea-time slot and was probably the finest scripted programme on television at the time. It was where Doctor Who / Jekyll writer Steven Moffat first cut his television writer’s teeth and certainly the scripts abound with enthusiasm, energy and movement. Which is not to say they ever descend into cheap candyfloss frippery and “zany” kid-world fantasy.

The scripts were cutting, sharp, breath-takingly funny and sometimes surprisingly harrowing in the choice of subjects covered. It was the one kid’s programme that refused to patronize its viewers and as a consequence is still head and shoulders above much of the TV guff that is thrown at children even today.

Julia played the formidable Lynda Day and for her first big TV role put in a performance so confident and self-assured it had Jennifer Saunders and Andrew Davies, to name but two, knocking her door down to offer her parts in projects they themselves were working on. I’m glossing over a huge swathe of biographical detail here but you get the picture. I believe the expression is: a star was born.

Since then Julia has appeared in dozens of period dramas – a period drama is now no longer believable unless Julia appears in it – Jonathan Creek, Faith In The Future and provided voice overs for plasticine chickens in Nick Park’s Chicken Run... and loads more besides.

You’ll notice I am staunchly refusing to make jokes about stuffing birds, or asking if anyone would care for a leg or a breast. I am above such things.

Anyway, despite a career spanning a good 20 years Julia has always retained a freshness and vitality that positively shines out of her whenever she appears on TV. She’s a class actress and it’s a real delight to see her in Cranford (and back being a brunette – I never cared for the blonde look she adopted in Jonathan Creek) though as TimeWarden pointed out in his comments to the previous post, she is now alas “looking older”... but is that necessarily a bad thing? She looks good, she looks natural and she is (according to the Radio Times) no longer living in the smoke and druggery of London but is immersing herself in the wilds of Somerset – immersing herself in a greener and healthier lifestyle, growing veggies and taking an English degree.

Exactly like me in fact. Except I’m not growing veggies, or living in Somerset, am not female and am not a class actress. And I can’t fill out a corset half as well as she can.

But I am a brunette. Totally natural, you know.

Enough! God bless you Julia! You’re great, you are.

Right. Gushing over. What can I moan and snipe miserably about now...?

Friday, November 23, 2007


I watched “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” for the first time last night. I wasn’t impressed.

But I did howl with laughter as ex Eastender’s chump Marc Bannerman was escorted off camp after his ignoble eviction from the show (for flirting embarrassingly with Cerys Matthews despite already having a girlfriend in tow – tut tut – the public really do not like that).

“I’m in love with two people,” he simpered.

What? Himself and his own reflection?


Baby Grow

Tom in now a little over 6 weeks old – it’s hard to believe! In some ways the time has flown by and in others it feels like Tom has always been with us. That last is a really nice feeling. He was weighed again on Tuesday and is now a hefty 10lb 2oz. He’s putting on the beef nicely and is turning into a lovely chubby little baby.

He’s also started smiling properly too – smiling in recognition of Karen and myself and in response to happy tones of voice. All signs that he’s developing as he should.

My only regret at the moment is that we’ve still not been able to take him to visit my granddad. Shortly before Tom was born my granddad was admitted into hospital with an infection which turned out to be C. Diff. He ended up being kept in for 4 weeks and Karen and I were advised by the doctors to stay well away to prevent any chance of the infection spreading to Tom. It can be fatal in adults let alone in new born babies.

He’s been home now for 2 weeks and frustratingly the official medical advice is still to keep Tom away – my granddad is still complaining of feeling ill and has stomach problems. It’s quite heartbreaking to keep him and Tom apart but Karen and I daren’t risk doing anything else.

I spoke to my doctor about it yesterday and she at least said it would be safe for me to visit him provided we kept physical contact at a minimum so all being well I’m going to nip out to see him during my lunchbreak today. But as for Tom she thought he’d probably be safe but it was best not to risk it. What my granddad needs to do is inform his own doctor of his ongoing problems and get himself tested.

Persuading him to do that is going to be easier said that done, however, as he’s terrified that they’ll take him back into hospital. And I really sympathise with that but I guess the crunch is if he wants to see Tom then he needs to ensure that he’s totally C. Diff free.

I just hope I can get that across to him without hurting his feelings...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thursday’s Weather

I’ve had the glums for last few days – a combination of work dross, lack of sleep, a bad back and the interminably grey skies that have sat over the entire country like a giant pie crust.

What kind of filling are we, I wonder? Steak and kidney? Chicken and mushroom? Beef and onion?

I have no idea and as you can imagine pondering such questions has done little to improve my mood.

However, I can’t deny that there is something comforting about the featureless grey skies that have lidded my world for the last three days. Maybe I’m only saying that because I’m English and we English are secretly proud when our weather proves to be even more mundane and dreary than our European cousins think it.

For some reason it takes me back to my junior school days... huddling in the playground wearing a home knitted bobble hat and those annoying mittens tied together by a giant piece of string, watching the world go by over the other side of the school fence, thinking how lucky all the grown ups were to be able to go about their lives without having to be stuck at school all day...

I seem to recall that for a short period in 1980 there was a huge thunderstorm nearly every Thursday afternoon. Forked lightning and everything. It sticks in my mind only because the headmaster at the time – the evil Mr Enoch – informed us that Thursday was named after Thor, the Norse god of Thunder (hence Thor’s Day) and so the thunderstorms were all rather apt.

Sigh. I’m so glad I came out of school with something embedded in my skull (other than a thrown chalk rubber).

And now I sit at work, watching the world go by outside my window and think how lucky all the kids are to be attending school rather than sitting here behind my desk grubbing at interminable paperwork and trying to diffuse the latest plumbing disaster to hit the public toilets...

Is that amused hammering I can hear in the distance...?

Sunday, November 18, 2007


A few weeks ago I wrote a piece that lamented the fact that Josie Lawrence and Tony Slattery were no longer to be seen on our television screens. And then a mere week later Josie Lawrence popped up in the BBC’s Robin Hood. A direct hit and no mistake.

Well, folks, call it luck, call it a fluke, call it psychically synchronized schedule programming but I’ve scored a double.

Last night saw Tony Slattery also attempting a TV comeback in the BBC’s Robin Hood.

Tres bizarre.

Have I got the televisual Midas touch? Have I got the power of the Mysterons over the casting department at the BBC?

Well, hey, let’s put it to the test shall we? If there’s anybody you’d like to see on TV – or to be precise in Robin Hood – then leave a comment and let me know and I’ll see what I can do…

Personally I’m still working on having Lucy Griffiths appear in nothing but a Cornish fishing net but I’ll be happy to make room for other requests too.

As for Tony… well it was both a pleasure and a tragedy to see him back on TV. The poor man looked dreadful. Disturbingly over-weight – though he was never a svelte ballet dancer – and eyes sunk further than the Titanic. Karen assures me it was just heavy eye make-up but personally I don’t think the Robin Hood make-up department are that good.

It’s plain he’s been ill and that’s sad to see but let’s hope that this outing is the start of a major health and career recovery. Though being shot in the man-boob by Robin Hood can’t have been good for his cholesterol.

Yes, there was death and carnage a-plenty in last night’s episode. Tony’s Canon of Birkley was punctured by Robin but only after he’d skewered Marian’s father, Edward, on the end of his jewelled dagger. Ooh the cad.

Personally I think this was a good move on the part of the writers (and it’s not often I agree with their plot decisions) as it frees Marian up to join Robin in the forest and pushes their burgeoning romance a little further down the road to soft pornography. Did I say soft pornography? I meant to say family centred fulfilment. Ahem.

For the Robin Hood nerds among you, you’ll no doubt have noticed that last night’s episode doffed it’s cap to not one but two episodes of it’s forerunner Robin Of Sherwood. The story of a young man coming to rescue his love from the evil clutches of the Sheriff was redolent of the "Alan-A-Dale" story in the first series of Robin Of Sherwood and the scene where Edward sneaks into the Sheriff’s bed chamber to steal the keys to ye olde safe was a salute to "Seven Poor Knights From Acre". It’s good to see the writer’s acknowledging Richard Carpenter’s far superior series…

Lastly folks, my favourite anachronisms from last night’s episode:

1) John of York’s protestations that he only had 10 shillings to his name. Shillings? Shillings? Surely the coin of choice in the 1100’s was the mark?

2) Robin and his merry men all wearing cowboy hats and duster coats as their latest disguise. “I say Gisborne, have you seen Robin Hood creeping about the castle?” “No Sheriff, but I thought I saw Clint Eastwood and Clyde the Monkey poking about your oubliette…”


Much really needs to get rid of those ginger sideburns…

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On The Buses

Fame hungry swine that I am, I have this week managed to get my name inserted into the hallowed pages of the Leamington Courier yet again. Lord knows why they don’t ask me to write the entire ruddy paper for them. Hmm. Probably because I’d demand too much money...

Anyway, the background (for those of you that are interested) is that the local bus company, Stagecoach, have launched a brand spanking new bus service this week. All posh leather seats, fleur-de-lys décor and gold trim. And hardly any space for parents with prams or pushchairs – a subject, as you know, which is rather close to my heart at the moment.

The end result was that Karen, Ben and Tom were refused entry to three buses on the trot one afternoon this week because the one and only space on each bus (which is technically set aside for wheelchair users rather than prams) was already occupied by a mum with a pushchair. There was nowhere for Tom’s pram to go so it was a case of “sorry luv, you’ll just have to wait for next one...” By the time they eventually got home they were all tired, freezing cold and very very upset. A 20 minute journey had taken the best part of an hour.

Not good enough! What’s the use of Italian leather seats a-plenty if you’re not allowed onto the bus to use the damn things? Right, thought I: no-one treats my wife and kids like that...

And so you can read the gory details below. The letter was sent to The Courier and to Stagecoach themselves:

Re: Your new Goldline Bus service

Whilst I am very impressed with the aesthetics of your new Goldline bus service as unveiled this week – the Italian leather seats, the plush navy and gold interiors – there has been a huge oversight on the part of the bus designers.

If you are a young mum with baby in a pushchair or a pram your chances of boarding a Goldline bus are severely diminished because of the lack of provision for such devices within the bus itself.

My wife has been refused entry to your Goldline buses on three consecutive days this week because the “space for wheelchairs” was already occupied by a traveller with a pram. On the second day that this happened she was refused entry to three buses in a row. This meant my wife – recovering from a caesarean, our 6 year old boy and our 4 week old baby were left waiting in the freezing cold for over 40 minutes despite three buses having called in at the bus stop during this period. By the time they were allowed to board a bus night had fallen and the baby was due a feed. Both he, my boy and my wife were understandably very distressed.

To be fair I’d like to state that I have no complaint against the bus drivers at all. They were all sympathetic but unable to do anything about the situation. In fact one commented that “this had been happening all day”.

Having used the G1 service myself I couldn’t help but notice that the only space for pushchairs is actually designated as being for wheelchair users only. It seems no provision has been made for mums with young children and babies at all. I rang your Leamington office this morning and asked what would happen if someone with a pram was occupying the space when a wheelchair user wished to board the bus. Reassuringly I was told that Stagecoach would not ask ticket holders to leave a bus once they had paid for a place and the wheelchair user would have to wait for the next available bus as my wife had done.

In this age of anti disability discrimination I can’t see such a response being sanguinely accepted by any wheelchair user. And given the great pains your bus designers have gone to in order to make buses more accessible to the disabled such a notion rather contradicts all your efforts to make buses accessible for all.

Are wheelchair users and parents with newborns to fight it out at the bus stops with the victor claiming the one and only bus space allocated to them? This is shoddy, second class treatment of both parents and the physically disabled. It just isn’t good enough.

I appreciate that a solution might be difficult to achieve but nevertheless something needs to be done. There are clearly more mums with young children in the Leamington and Warwick area than there are G1 buses... this problem is clearly not going to go away and needs to be addressed ASAP.

Yours sincerely...

In the words of Blakey from On The Buses: I ‘ate you, Stagecoach, I ‘ate you! Aw-haw-haw-haaaw!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yet Another Novel Update

After much discussion and speculation on the state of my novel in the previous post’s comments I hereby present to you, most fastidious reader, a crisp and newly composed excerpt...

The Book Of Ouroboros: Excerpt 2.doc

I’m now 84,000 words into the story and my initial estimate of 120,000 words to complete it now seem hopelessly optimistic. However, the plot is unfolding nicely and I’m happy with the overall progress... so I’m just going to run with the ball and see where it leads me.

Hope you all enjoy...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

No Bean Monday

Do you ever have one of those days when nothing major goes wrong, nothing especially disastrous occurs but nevertheless the day is a mega crap one?

I had one yesterday.

I didn’t get half an hour to myself at work – there was always someone around wanting something or needing my attention. Nothing particularly difficult or traumatic but I just didn’t need or want any of it.

I also found it difficult to be creative despite feeling in a creative mood. It took me nearly 90 minutes to “get into” my novel and then I only produced a measly 600 words. OK. It’s not going to be the end the world but it’s frustrating.

And then there was lunchtime.

Lunchtime summed up the entire day. I decided to treat myself by going to Mr Spud, the local purveyor of that fine English traditional meal, the hot potato. A nice hot spud with a chilli con carne filling was just what I needed to cheer me up and break the malaise of misery that had laid its broad hands upon my shoulders.

Only when I get to be served I get the dregs from the chilli pot. Instead of starting a new pot the seller merely tipped up the sparse remains of the old and slopped it all over my spud. The result was I was the only spud purchaser that day whose chilli contained not one single kidney bean.

And I love kidney beans. For me they are the highlights of a chilli.

Some days, it seems, it’s plainly not worth the effort of getting out of bed...

Monday, November 12, 2007

For Once A Good Idea

I’ve just received the following email:

Number 10 Downing Street has approved a petition that was launched requesting a new public holiday falling on the Monday after Remembrance Sunday in November each year. To be known as the National Remembrance Holiday, its purpose is threefold:

1) To emphasise the remembrance of those servicemen and women who have given, and continue to give, their lives for Britain.

2) To remind people of the importance of protecting our Nation and what it stands for.

3) To break the 3 month period between the August Public Holiday and Christmas when there are currently no long weekends, especially as the UK has fewer public holidays than most European countries.

If you are in agreement, please sign up to the petition - it only takes a few moments - and it would be great if you were minded to forward the link to other people as well.

The petition is available on-line at:

Seems like a jolly good idea to me...

Friday, November 09, 2007


News of political correctness gone wrong and half-arsed council priorities were splashed over the front page of The Metro this morning and for once I’m in total agreement with their indignation.

It seems that an Armistice Day parade in Castle Bromwich has been cancelled as the police will be needed elsewhere to prevent two rival groups of football fans knocking seven bells out of each other; a rifle regiment in Chepstow has been told to parade without their rifles as the council leaders there fear such brazen displays of weaponry will encourage gun crime (like it needs anymore encouragement with the amount of gun based dramas on our TV screens) and apparently collection boxes in Kidderminster have had to be fitted with tamper alarms as so many of them are being broken into and the contents nicked.

What a wonderful world.

Whilst I realize that one day WWI and WWII will pass almost blandly into the musty annals of history along with the likes of the Peninsula and Boer War, at present it’s important to note that for some the events they signify still exist in living memory and we all should make the effort to remember and acknowledge the huge loss of life that was incurred. Our current world and our very freedoms (such as they are) were formed out of the smoking and bloody aftermaths of these events and it’s both callous and ungrateful to ignore this fact.

Now I realize I’m probably being over sensitive as I’m lucky enough to have a granddad who is still alive and who still retains vivid memories of being in the navy during the Second World War and who came out of the conflict with a host of medals, stories and most of his mates dead... but even without that living spur I’d hope I’d have the decency and respect to recognize how important it is to mark the 11th November.

It’s a question of dignity.

For us as well as for those who have gone before...

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I’m pleased to report that baby Tom continues to thrive – his veritable life of Riley only spoilt by the advent of colic whose wearing effects we are all resigned to enduring for the next 3 months or so. After this point the health visitor assures us that the colic should disappear and we might be lucky enough to have a small period of peace and baby prosperity before the teething cycle begins...

Oh joy.

To be fair – aside from the one hugely troublesome feed when the colic appears to be at its worst (which seems to hit Tom in the early evening on a daily basis) – the lad is doing well. He’s a real guzzler and is hitting his ideal birth weight target regularly. 9lb something when he was last weighed on Tuesday. I know I should have the exact amount indelibly pressed into the soft putty of my mind but I’m a bloke and we don’t record such things in this way... if at all.

Karen and I are shattered. Whoever said looking after a baby was bloody hard work was under-exaggerating. Having had the day off on Monday to give Karen a break I’m not sure which is more tiring: staying at home looking after Tom all day or going to work and then coming home to help out with the evening feeds.

I confess I’m a wuss but am I enjoying it? Weirdly – yes. Even during the darkest hours of baby-care fatigue the thought is always in my mind to make the most of it as Tom is growing so quickly that all this will soon be mere memory. He’s gone from being almost lost in the bottom of his Moses basket to nearly three-quarters filling it already.

He’s getting quite chunky which is very satisfying to see. A “swollen angel”, in fact, to quote David Sylvian...

With a hunger cry that can drown out any other earthly noise in a 12 mile radius.

Town Cryer or opera singer may both be options for him later in life...

Me, I’m looking into somnambulism...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Burn Your Money

Call me a misery guts but I hate bonfire night and would quite happily see the sale of fireworks nationally banned except for professionally organized displays.

As a nation we quite rightly worry about our kids carrying knives and guns but then are quite happy to let them purchase shedloads of gunpowder and explosives every year. Are we insane?

Yes, I’m sure most kids are sensible and trustworthy and mature enough to handle the responsibility of dealing with live explosives… but unfortunately there are always too many who patently aren’t. I’ve personally seen fireworks being thrown, had fireworks launched at me and know of people who’ve had lit fireworks stuffed through their letterboxes.

Every year – EVERY YEAR – people are injured by fireworks; usually children. It is never ever worth it.

And that’s before you tot up the financial costs involved. Fireworks cost a staggering fortune. Who has money to (literally) burn in this way? Plainly loads of us do. I had a friend who each year would spend over £200 on fireworks. I’d roll my eyes and make disparaging comments but at the end of the day he was right: it was his money to do with as he liked. My yearly offer to withdraw £200 from his bank account and burn it for him was always met with a stony silence. Can’t think why – I’d have saved him an entire evening of standing around in the freezing cold with a load of pewling, complaining infants. Cos at the end of the day, you see, he was doing all this for his kids.

Rubbish. What kid demands his parent forks out £200 on fireworks? The kind of kid that needs a huge kick up the backside and a reality check…

In my opinion, bonfire night has got out of hand. It’s big, big money and people feel pressurized to partake and to do it “even bigger than they did it last year”.

But look at the cost – and I’m not just talking about finances: polluted air for days, littered streets, terrified animals (my Nan had to practically anaesthetize her pet dog for the entire fortnight around bonfire night) and otherwise perfectly healthy people having to spend time in casualty with third degree burns or worse.

It just isn’t worth it.

Restricting the sale of fireworks to professional displays would mean a reduction in air pollution, costs that are spread between everyone who goes to watch such events (which would make the financial burden on everyone more manageable), the detonation of fireworks restricted to maybe one or two nights of the year instead of spread over the entire effing month and hopefully a large reduction in the number of fireworks related injuries.

Everybody’s happy.

Except of course for the people who make a fortune each year selling millions of pounds worth of fireworks to the easily manipulated…

But who gives a big sparkly shite about them? As far as I’m concerned they can all light their blue touch-papers and swivel…

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Only ‘Cos It’s Josie

I honestly was going to give my reviews of Robin Hood a break because I recognize that most of you who read this blog don’t (if you were honest) give a rat’s ass about the show and have merely read my Hoody guff out of kindness and saint-like tolerance. So I was determined that I’d ease off on the Robin Hood obsession and only let it impinge upon my blog when a real episode of true note came along.

See, I do try to be considerate.

But, you see, Josie Lawrence happened to be in last night’s episode and I’m a big Josie fan. As you know, just last week I’d been lamenting upon her disappearance from our TV screens and then lo and behold she pops up bold as brass in Robin Hood… it was simply too good an opportunity to miss so, dear long suffering reader, I do apologize... but I will try and keep it short.

Josie played a foul-mouthed wise woman / witch who wore a headscarf thing that made her look like a cross between a clichéd gypsy fortuneteller and Captain Jack Sparrow. She also played her part with a northern accent – my accent spotting skills aren’t so good that I can pinpoint it exactly but it was definitely from oop North, by ‘eck – which is fine but just looked and sounded completely incongruous because I’m so aware that Josie is a West Midland’s girl in real life. But, to be fair to the show, I dare say a Brummie accent would have stuck out like a sore thumb… and that just wouldn’t have done for a show that takes such painstaking efforts to achieve unimpeachable period accuracy.

Cough cough.

Despite the cossie Josie was fine and gave a solid, earthy performance and had all the best lines. Calling Keith Allen’s sheriff a “snot ‘ead” was particularly memorable. I really must read the Magna Carta more closely if such robust terminology was in common usage at the time.

She also got to sit on the wrong end of a ducking stool. Unfortunately any side-thoughts that I may have entertained about ye olde wet T-shirt contests were thoroughly smothered by a drab grey smock which looked like it had been made from sackcloth and doused in concrete. Ah well. I always knew that Josie wasn’t that type of girl… but she did get to suck upon Robin’s lengthy hose so it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

Yes – wilely Robin kept Josie alive by the use of a length of meaty hose and a magnificent pair of billows. What a thoroughly resourceful chap he is.

Meanwhile Marian was wandering around Nottingham in a rather fetching off the shoulder number and not batting an eyelid when the Sheriff referred to a physician as “a quack”. A term that I believe did not come into common usage until the period of the black death and came from the weird face masks that doctor’s wore in the hope of avoiding infection.

But who cares about such things? Marian looked wunderbar. Josie sounded like she’d stepped out of The Phoenix Club and Robin finally discovered that he had a nasty spy in his gang.

Alas poor Alan-a-Dale.

He’d been singing like a canary to the wrong side. Ye olde stool pigeon. What a turkey. Tut tut.

But the big question is this:

Could this discovery lead to an occurrence of that rare thing in this show… genuine bloody drama?

Clue: no.

But here's a gratuitous picture of Lucy Griffiths as Maid Marian to take your mind off it...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Grindstone Cowboy

Well, the grindstone is busy turning and my nose is back pressed up against it. It’s so good to be back at work.


Actually, I’m being very fair. It really isn’t too bad and I suppose in some ways it’s been nice to touch base with the real world once again (touch base? I had, I admit, a sudden impulse to type “touch cloth” there). And my return to work was less of a tribulation than I’d expected.

Everybody wanted to hear all about Tom and my new experiences of fatherhood and it was nice to relive the last two or three weeks conversationally amid the shadow of the mountain of detritus that covered my work desk. An internal lifeline keeping my head steady against the influx of the terminally tedious.

Now, four days into the working week, the mountain has been levelled and I’m re-acclimatized once more to the endless drone of the local authority work regime.

Leaky roofs... Blocked toilets... Customer complaints.

I’m ensconced upon my white charger and comin’ to get yer.