Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Of Dogs and Dragonflies

JP and Tiddler do yoga at school with Lovely Teacher. Dog, cat, shark, whale, turtle, frog, dragonfly and cobra are all practised at home accompanied by relaxation breathing.

'It's good for our stress levels' I'm informed by JP.

The days of playground elastics are long gone....

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Guest Post

William J. Clough, author and former reporter with Nottingham newspaper Central Times files this report:

The gang of crack thieves known to police as the Sesame Street Gang struck again late last night on Thursday Street in Nottingham. The thieves broke into three parked vehicles and stole all articles beginning with the letter 'H'. One of the victims, a man in his thirties who cannot be named for legal reasons, said this morning: "It's an absolute disgrace. When I went to my car I found they had stolen my hat, my headrest, a bag of Hula Hoops and some of my CDs, including 'Hatful Of Hollow' by The Smiths and 'Hunky Dory' by David Bowie. To add insult to injury, I had to call the RAC out to help me get into my car as all the handles had been stolen too."
The gang, which incorporates three members, has been known to police for sometime, but as yet no arrests have been made. The Chief Constable of Nottingham, Inspector 'Legs' Templeton, told our reporter: "We know two of the felons go by the name of Burt and Ernie. The third member of the gang should be easy to spot – he's an enormous flightless yellow bird with red and white striped legs."

Monday, January 29, 2007


I am in love.

He's dark, sexy, good-looking, intelligent and I'm determined to make him mine. You can see his picture here and see him in action here. I am captivated.

I rush to the bedroom window, searching the garden for the tell-tale pod. The real Duck must have been replaced. I don't do gadgets and technology. I don't own an i-Pod or a Blackberry, and have only a rudimentary knowledge of how to load Spongebob Squarepants into the PS2 for JP and Tiddler. The DAB radio Mr Duck got me for my birthday is permanently on Radio 2. Predictive text remains a mystery, as I punctuate my way meticulously through all communications.

Is this blog leeching into my bloodstream? Am I now XML positive instead of A?


December 3rd 2007. As you know (or as you will find out if you're reading this chronologically). I do now own an iPod, and I'm happy to say I have mastered predictive text. I can switch between Radio 2 and Virgin, and I've got a BOSE docking station on my Christmas list. I'm definitely a clone. RIP Duck.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Theme Song

I have always had a fondness for Do Wah Diddy by Manfred Mann. One of my very earliest memories is riding in the back of my uncle's Austin Healey Sprite over mountains in North Wales, singing along with the chorus.

JP and Tiddler, have also developed the same fondness for the song and are gradually converting the rest of Mixed Infants. It's their first choice on Singstar - and also for singing in the back of the car - my car at least. In Mr. Duck's, it's Green Day and Blink 182. Seeing them headbanging and playing air guitar to American Idiot, makes me reach instantly for Simon and Garfunkel and a kaftan.

Today, moving swiftly on to the point of the post, I checked out a site showing what was #1 on a given date and it turns out Do Wah Diddy was top of the charts on the day I was born.

'Aha! That explains it'. I thought.

I'll let you know when I figure out exactly what...

Sunday, January 21, 2007


JP is a budding zoologist. He was going to be a paleontologist, until we delivered the shocking news that dinosaurs are, in fact, extinct*, and that Nigel Marven does not really own a time portal to travel back 65,000,000 years to rescue T-Rexes called Terrence and Matilda.

Dinosaur hunting is a serious business, requiring the wearing of khaki, walking boots, and Indiana Jones-style hats. Your kit must include binoculars, water bottle, Milky Way (snack size) magnifying glass, glow-in-the-dark stegosaurus figure, bug viewer, triceratops keyring, compass, notebook, pencil, ThomastheTankEngine pop-up tent - and that's just for watching the Prehistoric Park DVD.

Nigel Marven Jr. has an ant farm in the kitchen. We tried to catch ants in the garden to populate the farm, but failed to attract sufficient numbers from the same family to prevent gang warfare, murder and cannibalism on a shocking scale. In the end I resorted to ordering ants by mail - probably the strangest parcel I've ever accepted delivery of on the doorstep. The prominent 'Caution: LIVESTOCK' label on the very small jiffy bag must have aroused the curiosity of the postman, because it would easily have passed through the letterbox, but he chose to ring the bell. His unspoken question went unanswered and a petri dish of ants was dispensed into the farm.

As far as we can tell, it's much like a human community. The women set about unpacking, checking out the local schools and hiring a windowcleaner and the men scoured the perimeters for opportunities to wage war on the neighbours.

Keeping the ants company in the kitchen, is a pool of baby Triops - aka prehistoric shrimp. Hatched from eggs kept in suspended animation for thousands of years - reawakened with rainwater and the promise of fish flakes. They too are cannibals and the hundreds we hatched are now down to about 8. They're just about visible to the naked eye now, and their pool is surrounded by an attractive boundary of home-grown grass, which we have also 'hatched' from seeds that came with the Triop eggs.

Father Christmas delivered Worm World last month - watch this space.

*Apart from Dung Beetles, Dragonflies, Crocodiles, Scorpions, Triops and Ron Atkinson.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Assemble essential kit:- season ticket, flask of milky coffee to share with Fellow Fan who will bring brandy, blackcurrant Lockets, money for chips and gravy, phone, keys, #1 hat, gloves.

Stow kit in Coat with Pockets of Magical Proportions.

Choose shirt.


Drive the same route, traffic permitting and park in the same spot. Far enough away to avoid the post match gridlock and the huge parking fees. Also far enough away for vandals to smash car windows without the police noticing - but hopefully not my turn this week.

Chips and gravy from the same van - and exactly enough time to eat them before arriving at turnstile N41.

Watch MUTV in the concourse until the music starts - Do do do, do do do-do. Iggy Pop - Lust for Life. This is my cue to enter the arena and mount the stairs to my seat - my very own piece of Old Trafford. When United are playing, no-one may sit there but me, for as long as I live, or at least as long as I can climb the stairs unaided.

Shake hands with Fellow Fans in their seats, their very own pieces of Old Trafford, where no-one may sit but them, for as long as they live.

Look for my singing partner 2 rows back. Prepare to sing on behalf of the whole block.


76,000 become 1. Heart rate up - senses heightened - skin tingling - united.

Or maybe it's just me?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

This week, I will mostly be wearing 10 pints of Guinness

on my nails.