Saturday, February 21, 2009


Infernal criteria

The grandad has grounds for complaint, or so he thinks.

"I've been taking these bloody pills for ages and the other day I asked the doctor how long I'd have to keep taking them, and he says 'the rest of your life.'"

I digest this.

"That's not that long."

As the grandad mimes he's going to hit me, I wonder exactly what the criteria for damnation are: are our sins judged on quality or quantity?

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Monday, February 16, 2009


Dead for a ringer

I was about to sit down at the table in the Arms with some mates when I noticed a bloke at an adjacent table grinning and waving at me. Ever one to learn from my mistakes, I glanced around to check that he wasn't actually waving to someone behind me: he wasn't. Not one to disregard random friendly strangers, I returned his salutation briefly before taking my seat.

A minute or so later, he beckoned me to come over. He looked like a bit of a nutter, had a mate with him and the two girls sitting at his table looked perfectly mortified with embarrassment. I crossed over and bade all a good evening.

"You," he informed me, struggling a little to focus his eyes, "look exactly like one of our mates."

Ah, so...

He went on to inform me that said mate was a real lunatic, always starting trouble in boozers. I briefly looked around the crowded room.

"So," I said, "he's more than likely got a few enemies in this place."

"Beyond doubt," said the friend of my dangerous doppelganger.

"And it's quite possible that someone's going to mistake me for him and break a bottle over the back of my head?"

"Wouldn't surprise me in the least," he pronounced. None of his companions could look me in the face.

"Rightio, I'll finish my pint and I'll be off over the Cottage." I said, more than a little amused. I then trooped back over to my table and stayed there getting drunk until closing time.

Happily, I had neither my identity mistaken, nor the back of my head bottled.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009


Is it?

"So, you're planning to go swimming later, have you?"

Grandad winces, aware that he has just had A Senior Moment. Fortunately, my years in Japan have prepared me for what to do when tag questions go awry.

"Yes, it is."

He's not too embarrassed to laugh it off, thankfully.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Schadenfreudian slip

"Ha ha, some twat's had their car clamped."

"Er, Dan- isn't that Mum's car?"

Now he mentions it, it does look a bit like the mum's car- right down to the identical licence plate. The folly of my gloating is laid bare to me.

"Well I'll be damned."

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Saturday, February 07, 2009


Fool me once...

Somehow, and completely irrationally, I felt involved in Colin's death, as if a personal timeline had been derailed on my behalf and destiny rewritten to rescue a failing relationship. Slowly we tried to put it behind us and his name was never mentioned again. A few years later we had another child and our marriage entered a new, happier phase. I vowed to be a more attentive husband and adjust my work-life balance. But I couldn't forget the affair, especially how close it had happened to home.

I should have trusted my instinct: 12 years later, my wife ran off with my best friend.

I read about my wife's affair in her diary
The Grauniad 7th Feb, 2009

Best thing I've read in the paper in years- fair play to the bloke for sharing the story too.


Monday, February 02, 2009


Breaking even

Early signs of Arctic weather were with us this morning: it was absolutely freezing in the car park at Whitley common. Me and Joe were playing for the Albany Social Club (a team stuffed with blasts from my schoolboy past) against someone higher up the league than us. Actually, all the other teams in the league are higher up the league than us, us being bottom of the league and all.

The pitch at Whitley common is exposed and has a pronounced slope. Today, the wind was going in pretty much the same direction as the slope and we had to contend with both in the first half. We cleared three shots off our goal line, they had a goal disallowed and a goal allowed. We were 1-0 down at half time.

With the conditions in our favour in the second half, we equalised. Grounds for cautious optimism.

Then things took a nasty turn: two of our defenders got in each other's way, allowing an attacker to get through down the left-hand side of our goal. I hadn't anticipated the tomfoolerous defending and had consequently let their right winger, whom I was supposed to be marking, get five yards goal side of me. He was in the centre of the penalty area, yelling for a pass to set him up with an easy finish.

I dashed back, only for the guy in possession to over-hit his pass senselessly; the ball fizzed past the forehead of their right winger and hit me squarely in the face as I caught up with him, ricocheting perfectly into our goal. Justin in goal hasn't given me such a fearsome look in seventeen years or so. My nose and mouth really hurt too.

I wandered back up to the halfway line in a foul temper, with a few disingenuous calls of "don't worry about it," from the team mates. Joe knew better than to shout any such trite nonsense and was maintaining a tactful silence. Their right winger was at least good enough not to laugh at me.

Fortunately, we levelled the score again with an almost equally ignoble goal when their keeper made a hash of a routine save and threw the ball into his own goal like Michael Jackson throwing babies off a balcony.

I had just about recovered my vision by this stage. When our side broke up the right, I made a furious charge up the left, leaving their spawny right winger standing, collected the ball as our striker flicked it on, went round their keeper and scored. Pick it out, tossers!

We won 3-2, and my good humour was restored as we trooped down to the changing room.

"You made up for it in the end, eh" said Chris, the team captain.

I grinned, somewhat painfully; the ball in the face had left me with a fat lip.

"Was it ever in doubt?"


Sunday, February 01, 2009


The sublime and ridiculous

To commemorate Superbowl weekend, two of the finest touchdowns to be found on youtube. If anyone's got any better, send me a link!

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