Wednesday, December 09, 2009


If I don’t get up right now to mix some flour with some sugar and fruit and butter and cherries and spices and nuts and wet stuff and then line a tin and heat an oven and add one to another and pop in the third, if I don’t get up to do that then Christmas won’t come and I won’t have to admit how little of the stuff to be done this year I have done or have started to do.

Perhaps I could do all of that and still be a Christmas denier. So long as I don’t turn the thing over, peel away the greaseproof paper, prick it all over and pour over the Marsala. So long as I don’t do that last bit and repeat it over and again, I — and the year — might be saved.

But where’s the fun in that.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Okay Baubles, are you all listening? Right. I am thinking of a shape with four corners and four sides. All of its sides are the same length. What shape am I thinking of? Brilliant! Well done! So Baubles, you now have nine points, Christmas Trees, it’s your turn. I have ten pence in my pocket. I buy a cake for three pence. How much money do I have left over? Oo, nearly right, would another Christmas Tree like to use your team’s other go? Yes! Well done! Right, it’s neck and neck. Baubles, this is your last question. Are you ready? What is our largest value coin, the coin that is worth the most money? No, not a pound, but good try, which Bauble would like to take the last go at your last question? Yes! Well done! This is so close, everyone. Christmas Trees, this is your last go. Think really carefully before you put your hands up. I buy some sweets for eight pence and some toothpaste for thirteen pence — cos I’ll be needing it after all those sweets. How much money do I need all together? Think carefully. If you want to, put the biggest number in your head and use your fingers to count on. Yes? Fantastic! Well done!

Baubles and Christmas Trees, you’ve both got ten points. Ten points each. That means we’ll have to have a tiebreak question. This one isn’t a Numeracy question because all the best quizzes have General Knowledge tiebreak questions. That means it could be about anything. Anything at all.

Are you ready? This time — just this time — you don’t have to put your hand up. If you know the answer you can shout it out. Are you listening really carefully? Right, here we go.

Who ...

... lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Monday, December 07, 2009


Cumulatively it’s twelve partridges, twelve pear trees, twelve drummers, at least twelve drums, twenty-two turtle doves, thirty French hens, thirty lords, thirty-six calling birds, thirty-six ladies, forty gold rings, forty maids, forty cows, forty buckets, forty-two straining geese, at least forty-two goose eggs, forty-two swans, and an unspecified amount of unspecified liquid deep enough for swan legs.

With actions, it all adds up.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

as above

also to be found here:

Monday, July 06, 2009


Pah. It's work shadowing day for Mol. She chose to go with G, not me, although this involved getting up at 4:30 and she won't be back before 8pm. She began the day by meeting an astronaut on the breakfast radio show, and is currently being taught how to read the news by the presenters of the local news telly programme.

I could have given her a book about astronauts to put back on the right shelf, and she could have read to Year 1.

Perhaps one day she will learn to choose wisely.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Fuck you, David Chaytor. Just fuck you.

You claimed for a mortgage you'd paid, you paid your daughter under an assumed name, you employ your wife for an undisclosed amount, you falsify invoices for thousands, AND YOU SEND ME SPAM.

Mr Chaytor, you, yes you, will continue to get paid to represent me until the next election, when you stand down. Here, let my boot give you a hand with that.

Mr Cheater, that wasn't your money, it was ours. And now you've made me cry. Fuck you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The Today programme says current apocalypse warning is two horsemen and a velvet-soft pony nose.

Garden is full of sun, birds, strawberries ripening to pink, and taddies ripening to frogs.

Bump nose boy - victim of a cubs-related incident - back tomorrow, me with him. I forecast the low-key anxiety of NOT BEING AT MY TINY JOB will shred in a tumble of SEN maintenance and scattered library shelves.

Day4, hairline fracture n still bleedy on Twitpic

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Note to self.

Look, just snog him already. And ignore the one with the Burnley postmark.

Don’t drop History. You like History, history likes you. Plant more things.

Carry on with the nerds, soon they will start to be called geeks and their t-shirts will get better.

Buy the red dress, cut off the buttons. Buy the red velvet trousers, and the red velvet coat. Don’t buy the rat, buy two. And walk dogs. Keep writing with a black fine line.

Walk the curve in Central Library. Listen to your footsteps.

You don’t have to pull pints in a pub off Albert Square in the summer of 94, but it helps.

It’s not your fault. It’s just not. Keep that one safe: push it down deep down inside a warm pocket. Give it back when you see me.

Monday, May 04, 2009

grey and lightly brown

Holiday here today, with a brown and loaded sky. We had the thrill of trying to find shoes to fit over splints.

Mol has a friend round; their idea of getting lunch while we were out was scarfing five bags of crisps and most of a giant bag of doritos. We were back just in time to save the party rings.

Mol has a new look on her face these days. A blocked teen look I'm feeling less than comfortable with. I've just realised it reminds me of the blank, unresponsive eyes of an unspayed tom at the bottom of your garden. The love hasn't a clue she's wearing it, the way the tom hasn't a clue he's just a spraying bastard.

I will drink St John's Wort tea and make fish pie to politely summon a metaphoric sun.

Monday, February 02, 2009

a failsafe method...

...of producing a look of frozen horror on a nine-year-old's face:

Boy [whispers]
We did Sex Education today.

Oh good. What did you learn, then?


Getting ready for cubs. An unfocused play in four parts:

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Last night I dreamt I settled back to watch The Englishman Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain.

Only it involved a large, brown yet airy, polish-scented library with two large escalators rising through the open-planned centre of its several floors. I've been to this library before in dreams (history is second floor left, by the big windows); it's usually attached to a college or university in which I'm struggling to study, Beyton Middle School, or both. Last night it was neither. It was where Hugh Grant worked, because Hugh Grant was still in the film.

Also involved were fleets of silver, streamlined, eagle-headed aircraft which screeched out earth-scarifying belchy death stuff.

The plan was for everyone to be wiped out whilst H.G was up the hill for a stroll. He'd come down the hill to find total obliteration, so much so that layers of ground-level earth had been rent from their fixings. Thus making the hill a little bigger. Thus making it a mountain.

Then it started to get tricky.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

time and relative dimensions in prefabs

I stood in front of my first Year 7 class in 1993. I wasn't with them all the time, just long enough for a thorough dowsing in Danny, The Champion of the World, and to see that they were very, very small.

I taught them in a prefab somewhere out the back to the left of the main school; away and askew, even from the other prefabs needfully regimented to withstand Year 9.

They'd tumble in, this Year 7, pinballed through their new school, Big School, bruised, confused at how just eleven years on Manchester, England, Earth was supposed to have prepared them for the corridors, corners, tall voices, sharp elbows and several hundred shiny, new P.E bags and choices of High school.

Give them a few minutes to rattle down and relax and they allow themselves to be small enough to absorb every world in a story read to them. Universes of worlds, time beyond measure. Whatever I could creatively slip into the gaps in a tight syllabus. Surprising how big those gaps are from the inside.

They were my soft, sparky babies. Eleven years old in 1993. Now they will be doctors and vets, plumbers and checkout operators, marketing managers and military subversives. Across this country with its various askew prefabs, 1993's soft, shiny Year 7s have grown to be builders and parents, dissolutes, disparates, and decorators. Teachers, technicians, tutors, and a future timelord. Good luck to him. Fair travelling.

I am getting on a bit.

Friday, January 02, 2009

like 2.0

Mol brought her video of Angus down for me to share.

What I like is the embarrassing parents in this, she explained. It's so, like, real.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

battle of the bulge

Cooked and demolished a marvellous New Year roast beef dinner, with every trimming. That's the last of the sprouts and the crackers.

Fed full and happy, I followed the roast with a traditional, festive sandwich. There's always room for one of these, and they're best when you're full. You'll probably know the recipe, but a reminder never hurts.

For the bread use something tasty and substantial: Gone With The Wind works well, or any James Bond. Disney at a pinch, if your taste runs to that, or if there's nothing else. Something substantial with Eagles, Kwai, Dambusters or Navarone are recommended. Today I used the classic sandwich loaf, The Great Escape.

The filling is a generous scoop of rich, sweet, sleep fluff. Spread it right to the edge of the bread, good and deep. Don't miss a corner.

Take it to the sofa, keeping your cracker hat just about on, and enjoy.