Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Conversation at work today:

Craig (about 18) : I quite like that er...whathisname? That singer.

Richard (v. old): You don't mean James Blunt, do you? No.

Craig: Yes, that's him. **sings** "Simonaaa, you're getting oldaaa..."

James (early 20s): He's the only singer whose name's rhyming slang, isn't he?

Richard: Are you a woman, Craig?

James: I've never heard of anyone coming out like that before.

I'm still LOLing. I may even bmsl.

Monday, October 29, 2007


That's a Daddy Longlegs. Or a Cellar Spider. This one is a Marbled Cellar Spider, native of the Mediterranean but we have cellar spiders over here. They sit in their messy webs behind the toilet all year, slowly getting bigger and bigger but not causing any harm. Then some evil bastard sucks them up the Dyson. They don't deserve it, they're clever. There's a small one in the shower here, or rather in the corner of the ceiling above the shower, 8 feet up. I've just taken a shower and just after I'd turned the water off but was still in the cubicle, I saw the spider abseil all the way to the bottom, dodging the soap dish on the way and land on the top edge of the shower tray. It took him/her about 10 seconds. It didn't move and I thought it was stuck in the water. I watched it for a few seconds and it didn't move. I got out and started to dry myself and as I did so, the spider moved and hauled itself back up to the ceiling in about 20 seconds.

The whole operation took about 2 minutes but then it occurred that this was actually quite an astounding display of animal intelligence. This tiny organism, with a brain a few microns across, had worked out the best time to get a drink in a hostile atmosphere. It knew that when someone goes in the shower there's water about but that it's dangerous to drop down when the shower's on, so it waits until it's off. Then it drops, far enough away from the walls not to get stuck on the wet tiles, picks the top of the tray where there's no pooling, has a drink and then goes home. Maybe I'm easily amazed but I think that's incredible.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Sex. It is a frightening prospect for most writers and almost certainly the only subject where the writer's rule of thumb, "write about what you know" is dislocated. There is an annual award "presented" by the Literary Review called "The Bad Sex in Fiction" award and it has some illustrious winners in its 14 year history including Melvyn Bragg, Tom Wolfe, A.A Gill, Philip Kerr and Sebastian Faulks; all people whose otherwise superlative descriptive powers are abandoned in a welter of dodgy metaphor and sweaty fluster the moment they start blindly fumbling for the literary g-spot. I know someone who has written close on 200 books, most of these romances containing the obligatory (i.e. publisher insists) mating scene and she abhors having to write it.

The thing is, we've all done "it" (or probably have. I'm not sure about Murph, that would I'm sure depend on which row he sings in the choir). I must have done it a few times as I have a couple of children somewhere who bear me a superficial resemblance and I also still have a note from a neighbour in Crewe who once politely asked if we would consider closing our bedroom window and that they weren't complaining about our snoring, boom boom. Well, we'd not been together long, had we. So, whereas I can write passably decent stuff about football or cricket, Russian Blue cats, beer, wartime jazz musicians and hand-forged ironmongery because I either have first-hand experience of or have done extensive research on the subjects, when it comes to horizontal jogging, I won't even attempt it. At least in public.

One of the reasons why, to be honest, is because what I accept as agreeably normal and accepted practise in the realm of the bedroom (or stairs, kitchen table, garden shed whatever), may make other people point at me and snigger. People I'd hitherto considered friends. Or even family. We all have different levels of normal, don't we. Don't we? There is the (probably apocryphal, but good nonetheless) story that John Ruskin, 19th century artist and critic whose previous experience of naked women supposedly extended to the stylized renderings by renaissance masters and classical sculptors, took fright on his wedding night on seeing his wife's pubic hair for the first time (causing her to eventually bugger off with Millais). I also know of a couple who married quite late. She was very experienced and a bit older; he was nearly 40 and a very definite virgin. Consequently, as the wedding night approached he endeavoured to research what he would need to do to satisfy his new bride. As his chosen method of research entailed purchasing a large number of gentlemen's recreational videos via teh Internet's dodgier outlets, the outcome doesn't bear thinking about. Actually it does, very much so. And speculating upon it has caused some LOLing and not a little LMAOing as a wedding night based on this newly acquired knowledge would have been interesting to say the least. The fact that the gentleman concerned is quite possibly also autistic - of the kind that worries about change - puts an even more interesting slant on their conjugals. Has she managed to persuade him that a money shot isn't necessary every time? And after 5 years could he at least take his shoes and socks off and lay down for once? "Dear Dierdrie, My new wife says she's already fed up with our sex life. She's told me she doesn't want the neighbours to join in every time anymore even though I've told her this is what everyone does. Please help." "Dear Brian, you're obviously not using enough butterscotch Angel Delight and do make sure your mango isn't over-ripe otherwise you'll be pestered by wasps. She'll get used to it given time."

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Because I march along rarely breaking step with technology, I have upgraded my mobile telephone. It is much easier to use than my last one, although it has 4 touch sensitive buttons that meant I made 20 calls to the same unfortunate person yesterday before I worked out what I was doing. Still, it has a 3.2 megathingy camera on it. I have been trying it out. It also has a wireless, an mp3 player and a thing for sending emails. Many of these features will probably remain unused.

This is Max.

He belongs to my sister and is now in his mid 20s. He's become remarkably mellow in his dotage. I don't ride but Max and I are very good friends and he likes a cuddle.

I went out for a drive and happened across this. This is a hot air balloon taking off from Church Rd in Kenardington. It's well known locally as "Icom" and belongs to Merlin Balloons for whom my brother-in-law does occasional helping out kind of things, usually involving a free flight. Lucky bugger. As the balloon ascended it was buzzed by another local character flying his restored P51 Mustang. Quite a sight.

This is The Man of Kent in Middle Row, Ashford. When I was younger it had a bit of a reputation. I haven't actually been in it for nearly 20 years.

This is a picture of a man with an even more ridiculous name than my own. I didn't take this picture, I stole it.

Southern Man

Shame about the rugby.

Anyway, was having a browse over Youtube earlier and in that oddly serendipitous manner that it seems to have evolved, while looking for one thing, came across this classic piece of southern Americana. It's one of those tracks that I identify with a certain period in my own life; one of both great happiness and also upheaval and uncertainty. 30 years later, I think I've finally come to realise that life never changes and that that is what it's all about - it's never straightforward like you'd wish it to be. Reading one of the comments I realised that it was also the 30th anniversary of the air crash that killed Ronnie van Zandt and Steve and Cassie Gaines. Life is also full of little coincidences.

Remember this? Last Saturday lunchtime I posted two very small packages at our local village post office (yes, still got one - and I had to queue and it wasn't even car tax day). By small, I mean one very small padded bag and one small, light cardboard box about 10" x 6" x 2". Both went first class letter post; the bag to some tiny place on Shetland, just about as far as you can send something in these islands from SE Kent, the box to Sharon in Crewe, 250 miles away and at the hub of our rail and road transport network. I know there's been a spot of bother with the mail recently but it still doesn't explain the fact that the parcel was received in Shetland on Monday and that the box hasn't yet made it to Crewe. Crozier, you pointless waste of good oxygen, I'd happily do your job for a tenth of what you cost the taxpayer. I'd find it quite easy to sit back and do eff all for £100 grand a year.

Just to go back to the village post office for a second. There were people in there who had driven several miles from other towns and villages to use it, towns and villages that used to have their own facility. Aren't we meant to be saving energy and stuff?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Idiot roundup

Sorry for the copout post, I'm working on something better. Honest.

This week, my visitors have included the following searches for enlightenment:

Carol Thatcher
I was about 455th down the list. Whoever you are, you have a worrying affliction bordering on obsession.

Look, I honestly don't understand this. Usually this search includes the word "wanking". Don't ask me. I actually find ironing quite therapeutic. Otherwise, I won't be drawn. This might help, it was top of the list (I was fourth).

A shouted request from Argentina. It is a long way. It's a top tune. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band also did a version of it.

what do you think what will be doing in 10 years
I don't know. I suspect what will probably be working for a large multinational corporation, have 2.3 kids and a second hand Mondeo just coming up for its first MOT.

Were this not from AOL I would be intrigued and not a little frighted. As it's from the world's most pestilential ISP, it's probably somebody brand new to teh interpipes entering the first bit of garbage they could think of into the first search box they see. "Look dear, there's something about goats that would appear to answer our query. Good, isn't it. Now try Max Boyce Gay"

max boyce gay
They found google. Twice. Is he? For my foreign visitors, Max Boyce was the Welsh equivalent of Billy Connolly. Without the swearing and for that matter, without the humour.

adam crozier is he gay?
Yes, yes he is. He's also wanted for conning the Royal Mail that he's a competent businessman.

where in the world is plastic come from
Plastic is come from Tesco. Is bag. Are one apple in plastic box in plastic bag with "Individual Fruit Snack. Healthy Option, one of your 5 a-day! 55p. Produce of Tierra del Fuego. May Contain Small Parts. Serving Suggestion. This Bag is Not a Toy" writed on.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The one where I abandon cocky one-word titles

I was going to write something about something else but England won the rugby so now I can't be bothered (a non-sequitur just for Vicus). Instead, here's a video of a dopehead blowing with an alcy pill-popper. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


My very good friend and occasional future 14th cousin twice removed (by marriage), Mr. Scurra, has been troubled by a memory. Reassuringly, his long term memory is still largely intact so he has been able to recall in some detail the exact moment his body informed him that he would not be following a career in interior design and would eventually be able to watch rugby for the correct reasons.

I took to remembering my own early years and have come to the conclusion that this realisation must occur around the same age in all young boys. Unlike Vicus, I cannot pinpoint an exact moment my hormones became correctly balanced although I'm guessing it would have been around 1966. There was one episode a bit earlier that probably would have had pub Raj Persauds shouting "gayer" but all was not what it would seem. Most young children have a comfort toy of some sort, a blanket or teddy. Mine was one of my sister's cast-off dolls, Jane. I thought she was beautiful and not in a Judy Garland way, either. But it wasn't Jane. My moment came through the black and white 405 lined blurry haze of some jolly variety show. It was Dagenham's finest, the mini-skirted and bare-footed longhaired songstrel, Sandie Shaw, who set my extremely juvenile pulse racing. Gosh. Blushy things happened. I found I couldn't watch her on telly without becoming extremely coy, as if I was withholding some guilty secret that would soon be found out, making me a target for extreme mockery from other family members. Even now I've got a bit of a thing about women with long dark hair. All the more surprising then that my first wife was blonde - what on earth was I thinking of?

I eventually put that right when, this very day 6 years ago in St James' Park, I clapped eyes on Mr Scurra's distant cousin, another gorgeous woman with beautiful long dark hair who within a few seconds would change my life completely. She would argue that that change was not always positive indeed, she would probably just argue and make me argue back, hence our current predicament. Still, she stole my heart that day and she won't give the bloody thing back. It's a situation I don't want to change, either (except for the being 250 miles apart bit).

Friday, October 05, 2007


It was a beautiful start. I trod a path across the dew laden lawn to the car at 8:40 am and breathed in the heady scents of an early autumn morning. The sun was already warming the air and another fine Indian summer day beckoned. It could only get better.

I arrived at the warehouse of the renowned cook's and kitchen supplies company who have been kind enough to employ me this last week. Gary, the warehouse manager, strode toward me but without his normal purposeful air; if a gait could signal apology, his was near fawning. I had passed my colleague Jim a few seconds earlier and now I was beginning to wonder why he had appeared to greet me with a knowing smile.

"Morning. Er...mate...I got a shitty job for you. Well, it's not really shitty, like, but...well."

He was folding a pair of long, green, rubber gauntlets.

"They lost some software upstairs. 350 quid's worth. You can take these." He passed me the gauntlets.

"Apparently it's in a white bin bag in a black bin bag. In the skip."

There are two skips. Big ones. The kind they take to landfill sites. 50 yard skips, the biggest you can get. One has cardboard in and goes to the mill. I've already been in that one and you don't need gloves. The other one also has some cardboard in. And lots of other stuff. Bits of broken pallet, plastic shrink wrap off the pallets, some cans. that sort of stuff. And old food. Three week old food and plenty of it. And the waste bags from the office (presumably where the disc was). And alarmingly, the bags from the ladies' khazi. Which are indistinguishable from the bags from the office. Guess which one I spent the first hour rummaging through. An hour in which the sun was slowly rising in a cloudless blue sky, above the nearby tree that had hitherto kept me in a cooling shade. I was wearing three layers and I became very hot. The skip was filled to the brim. I worked from end to end twice. 14 metres of burrowing to the point where I couldn't see over the rim. I didn't find the disc.

Strangely, the most revolting thing I encountered was not the rotting food nor the unmentionable contents of the lavatory bins; it was unwittingly breaking open the bags that contained rubbish emptied from the outdoor ashtray. The smell was truly foul and it was the only one that made me automatically recoil and swear loudly. I was effuse in the refuse.