Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dear Santa

The Little Ducks have decided on BMX bikes for Christmas. I explain that this means there won't be much else from me on Christmas morning as the bikes are big presents.

'That's ok' - they announce 'because we'll still have our Santa presents.'

'Of course you will' - I reassure them.

I'm amazed that at 10 and 8 they're not ready to give up Santa.

In due course lists appear. Mr Duck Senior, Mrs Duck Senior, Sister in China and The Ginger One will be forwarded copies to spread the load. Thanks Guys!

Thankfully they are not long, and unlike last year, they've done away with the niceties of enquiring after Santa's health and enticing him with goodies and come straight to the point with a list of demands.

  • Bike (ticked as we have already been to Halfords and chosen)
  • Call of Duty Black Opps
  • New DS case
  • New Professor Layton
  • New bra and new knickers
  • Video Camera
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book
  • Wee on a jellyfish sting

  • ACB*
  • Pacman alarm clock
  • Need for Speed shit*
  • Movie Deathly Hallows
Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the Transvestite and the Pottymouth.

* Assassins Creed Brotherhood
* I'm fairly certain he means shift - but as it's Tiddler.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mind The Gap

I have finally been able to unpack my books after two and a half years in Friendly Drive, thanks to the arrival of Billy bookcases (no relation to Bli Guinness).

JP volunteers to assemble them and spends a happy couple of hours with Allen keys (no relation to Alicia), screwdriver, hammer and nails.

They fit perfectly in the recess in the front room and I spend a happy couple of hours cataloguing and sorting books, DVDs and CDs in my own unique OCD way.

Think John Cusack in Hi Fidelity with his vinyl collection and you have some insight into the pleasure it affords me - genre, format, author, series, chronology and so on*

There is a small gap between the bookcases, perfect for a CD and DVD tower - giving me even more space for books.

We step back to admire our handiwork and I realise that JP is staring intently at the bookcases.

'I think I can fit in that gap' - he announces.

'Knock yourself out' says I.

So here it is - proof positive that my 10 year old is no more than 6 inches from front to back and has more of Tiddler in him than I suspected.

* Unlike Yummy Mummy who displays books by colour, to match the room decor.

Friday, November 05, 2010


Tiddler's team has now entered the cut and thrust of competitive football - in the East Lancs Under 9's League. The core members of the team have been together since Under 5's and play some exceptional football for their age group. Three of the team already play in the Excellence Academies of my beloved Manchester United and Bury.

JP has just moved from 7-a-side to 11 a-side and is also captaining the school team this year. He marshalls the defence from his position at full back and is mastering the art of the off-side trap to great effect.

So football continues to dominate the domestic landscape, although they are also doing yoga, street dance and have just taken up karate.

As far as I can see, this just means they can kick the shit out of each other more effectively, do a Michael Jackson spin and crotch-grab to finish, then chill out with a half-Lotus and a glass of herbal tea.

Anyway, back to football.

Tiddler's team are currently second in the League and still in the Cup. He was Man of the Match last week, too and we have goalscorers galore in the squad.

But this week came the news that we have just lost a vital left-footed player, who's been snapped up by Blackpool and they don't allow their Academy players to play for anyone else. Gutted.

No matter. Young Ollie - currently playing for a local rival team - has been on trial with us at training for a few weeks now and so we are signing him up instead.

As assistant manager, this is my first foray into the transfer market*.

Negotiations are swift, but there is paperwork to be completed and new registration forms.

I hasten to the League to get everything stamped before Saturday's game.

I give the paperwork a quick check before signing it and stop in my tracks when I see Ollie's full name.

I am actually signing up none other than Ole Gunnar LancsSurname.

I kid you not.

Ollie, turns out to be Ole - whose namesake is a United legend and personal hero of mine.

I take a photocopy of the form for posterity, break out a new kit - (shame it's shirt #11 not #20) and pray that our new signing has the same magic in his boots as the Baby Faced Assassin himself.

*Yes, I know the transfer window doesn't officially open till January, but East Lancs must be in a different time zone.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Black and Blue

‘You think that jacket’s black, don’t you?’ JP observes as I twirl, Anthea Redfern-style, in my vintage suede jacket, courtesy of eBay.

'Not again', I groan.

I simply cannot get into the habit of checking the descriptions on eBay to verify that the colour I can see in the photo, is the actual colour of the object of my desire. My suede jacket is clearly listed as being blue.

I am slightly colourblind.

To whit:

My new black jacket is blue*.
My green Faithless t-shirt is brown.
My grey coat is black.
My gold coins are copper, and worth peanuts.
My black gun is green.

Comedy Gold for my friends – or at least Comedy Copper.

The Little Ducks have a fancy dress day at school on the topic of superheroes.

JP is going as Agent K, but doesn’t have a black suit jacket. I buy a black school blazer on eBay and turn my attention to Tiddler’s costume (more later).

The black blazer arrives and JP rips open the packaging.

You know what’s coming next.....

‘IT'S BLUE', he shouts.

‘No, it’s not. It’s black. It’s fine’ I try to placate him, before defeat rears its ugly head and looks me square in the face.

'It’s blue', he repeats. 'I’m not going as Agent K from Men In Navy!'

I hasten to the haberdashery to purchase some Dylon (remembering to verify with the Checkout Charlie that the black dye I am waving about is actually black) and don my marigolds.

All is good.

Until Tiddler announces that he's going as Captain Underpants.

In just pants and a cape.

In October.

Superhero day dawns. JP is resplendent in black (with a green gun). Tiddler has long black thermals under his red pants and cape, for warmth and decency.....

..... and 6 pairs of assorted boxer shorts on his head.

He strikes a Ninja pose, whips the first pair off and flicks them at me with a battle cry.

'Fear me, for I wield the Boxers of Mass Destruction!'

*Although it does mean it goes with my black jeans, which turned out to be blue.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's A Date

‘Am I busy on Saturday night?’ enquires Tiddler, casually.

‘Not as far as I know, why?’ as I busy myself pairing socks for England*

‘I’ve got a date’.

I pause mid-sock and turn to face him.

‘Girl and I are going to see a film’, he explains. ‘There’s a note in my school bag from her mum’.

I agree to liaise with Girl’s mum and say nothing further. JP looks on grinning.

The following morning, I give him the rendez-vous details. He is still very casual. ‘I’m not that bothered anyway, she’s already had 4 boyfriends this term, but…..

At least I’ll get a cinema trip out of it’

In my mind I fast forward 10 years, when I fully expect to hear him say

At least I’ll get a shag out of it’

I decide that 8 is still too young for The Talk (Embarrassing Mum) or slipping condoms in his wallet (Cool Mum) – and return to Sock Mountain.

Today is POAD’s 4 year blogiversary. We started with Tiddler and his then girlfriend, so it seems appropriate to post this today.

*6 feet x 7 days = 42 socks a week by my reckoning, so why do I end up with a sock mountain worthy of the European Commission?

Monday, September 20, 2010


My name is Duck and I am a Globophobic.

I am afraid of balloons.

Really really.

For me, being in proximity to inflated latex is akin to entering a room with a lion in it. Heart pounding, blood pressure rising, hysteria, panic attacks and occasional fainting.

I take only small comfort from the fact that it is considered one of the top ten strange phobias in the world.

Most of my close family and friends know this and balloons are not in evidence at events that I am known to be attending. The Little Ducks understand and don't bring balloons home from parties.

One of the hardest things I have to do each year is pass under the balloon arch at the start of the Great Manchester Run. I have to do it or the electronic timer tag thingy on my ankle won't record my achievement.

It occasionally provides an opportunity for me to embarrass myself in public.

Which is nice.

At the height of the Glazer protests at Old Trafford last year, fans took to bringing yellow and green balloons to the game. My fellow fans in the North Stand were treated to the unexpected sight of me freaking out and screaming like a banshee when hundreds of green and yellow missiles rained down from the second and third tiers directly onto my head.

It took some persuasion for the stewards to put away the straitjacket and and stand down the men in white coats.

But to those who mock and scoff and torment people like me with strange phobias, beware!

Anatidaephobia is the fear that somewhere, somehow a duck is watching you.

Really, really.

In the weird and wonderful phobia charts, it's right up there with globophobia and its sufferers are subjected to the same level of mockery.

But sometimes there is method in the madness.

Ducks are in fact evil*.

Personally, I think one look into our cold, beady eyes should tell you this, but the big, fat, funny beaks lend us a benign, comic air.

Animal spin-doctor supremo Beatrix Potter did a fabulous propaganda cover-up with her delicate, anthropormorphic creation - Jemima Puddleduck - to the extent that parents willingly expose their offspring to certain death in parks and ponds around the country, with only slices of bread to pacify the ducks' voracious appetites.

So I was mortified to find the true nature of Duckkind exposed on Facebook this week. With no thought for the mass panic that could ensue, someone published this:

So now the world knows our secret** and anatidaephobics the world over can continue to sleep uneasily in their beds.

* Not as evil as rabbits, but getting there.
** Don't worry. The medication keeps me totally under control***
*** Although I couldn't entirely vouch for Tiddler.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I knew I wasn't in Kansas any more, as I watched a lizard pushing a pram across the field.

The Little Ducks are in Spain and I am in a field in Derbyshire wearing armour, chain mail, a tail*, ears** and carrying a sword.

My face is painted white, silver and black and a laminated card hanging from my belt around my neck proclaims me as Uncia - Daemon Snow Leopard.

No, I haven’t been eating cheese late at night. This is for real.

I was always a big Dungeons and Dragons fan at university and I am still a big reader of fantasy novels. JP is also very into Magic Cards – thanks to the Crazy Russian generously gifting him a big box with some great decks in.

I am not a fan of computer games and virtual worlds and avatars. I’m quite enjoying this First Life, thank you very much. And besides, I wouldn’t fancy fighting Tiddler for access to the PS3, when there are vital, virtual football matches to be won and lost.

But it had never occurred to me that you could go and do this stuff in the real world

Oh Yes.

My name is Duck and I am a LARPer.

But this is not the stuff of serious re-enactment societies.

Oh No.

I spend my days and nights with vampires, werewolfs, goblins, orcs, trolls, elves, demons, incantors, necromancers, imps, and all manner of bestial and human creatures – not to mention the undead*** and the unliving***

There are rituals and rites to be performed, like short, improvised street theatre for an appreciative audience – but with the possible rewards of high scores and increased powers for the ritual subjects.

There are battles to be fought – honour to be upheld, nations to be vanquished and monsters to be overcome. I spent Saturday afternoon as a vengeance zombie, whose key characteristic was to regenerate after 10 seconds, each time it got killed. Just as well really, as my first foray into battle got me killed at least 10 times.

On the negative side there is some shopping to be done. Marks and Spencer doesn’t really cater for the kinds of outfits required and desired for LARPing. My wardrobe has distinctly more leather and fur these days – not to mention the daggers – locked away from Tiddler for safekeeping.

Oh, and of course there is a beer tent. Happily it seems that snow leopards like the black stuff as much as I do.

*made out of a scart lead and some suede curtains
** made out of leopard-print shoulder pads
*** Not quite certain of the difference yet.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Speaking in Tongues

I never hear the polite, quiet little text alerts on my mobile. Particularly if it's buried deep in my handbag or in my pocket.

Bli Guinness originally provided me with The Butler, but if the phone is within earshot of colleagues, Mrs Duck Senior or the Little Ducks, I then have a mad scramble to cut him off before he offers to tell callers to F**k Off.

Not good.

But now I have R2D2* - alerting me to the arrival of new texts with a cacophony of clicks, whoops and whistles - long enough and piercing enough to be heard anywhere.

I love it and I love the reaction it provokes when my pocket suddenly erupts with noise in a public place.

Yummy Mummy and I were queuing in the Fish Bar in Benllech, when R2 piped up from my jeans.

I let him finish, then turned to the man next to me who looked puzzled.

'It's a text translator' - I offer, by way of explanation. 'It means you don't have to get your phone out to read texts. it reads them out to you.'

'That's cool' - says he nodding in approval.

I wait a few seconds to see if there is a whiff of irony about him, but all I can smell is salt, vinegar and gravy.

I continue - 'Of course, you have to be able to speak R2D2, to understand the message....'

More sage nodding, 'Oh, absolutely' - he says.

I wait a few more seconds for the wet fish of enlightenment to slap him about the face then give up, collect my freshly fried cod and head for the car, avoiding the tumbleweed blowing gently down the hill to the bay.

*Actually it's just a recording of a child's toy, but sounds uncannily like the famous little droid. Funnily enough when I was looking for an image of R2 for this post, the first image I selected came from this site. I have downloaded a translation of Picture of a Duck. Just trying to work out how to post it here.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Morningtime 2010 aka Dawn of the Red

Morningtime has settled into a more civilised routine these days.

There are fewer awkward questions and even less bra-sniffing.

House rules are that all Little Ducks remain in their bedrooms until 7am. Spywatches and alarm clocks are provided to mitigate against claims of not knowing the time.

All good.

There are occasional blips. Tiddler has a tendency to slip downstairs and address the issue of an empty stomach or a need to compete in a PES10 World Cup competition using his body clock instead of an Accurist to calculate 7am; but generally goes about this in a stealthy fashion.

I choose to stroll downstairs at 7 to make my first brew; arrange breakfast; then head for a leisurely shower, having already put out uniforms and squeezed Aquafresh onto 3 matching toothbrushes.

Today I head down at 6.45 - the need for tea outweighing the need for bed - to be greeted by a scene from a comedy horror flick.

JP is in a school play, requiring a zombie costume. Last Hallowe'en I provided him with one, so as far as I am concerned we are all sorted. This morning he decides he needs new zombie trousers and takes it upon himself to dig out some old pyjama bottoms for the job.

He then selects the best red from my brand new Acrylics painting set and pinking shears from the sewing box, for the purposes of customisation.

Not good.

The front room, hall and kitchen have traces and splatters of blood red on furniture, floor and walls. Tiddler has joined in enthusiastically and both are also covered in red.

'They're not drying very well' - JP informs me, ruefully - ever the astute observer.

I send them to the shower and head for the pantry in search of a scrubbing brush and Marigolds, pausing only to put the kettle on Continuous Brew mode.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

46 Things

1. I draw smiles in my Guinness
2. I am slightly colour blind

3. I was a finalist on The Weakest Link
4. I once said I Love You to Ian Botham
5. My favourite food is sausage and mash
6. I have a phobia about balloons

7. I can do the Rubik's Cube
8. I love the perfect stolen kiss in The Wedding Singer
9. I have tiny feet
10. I carry a Mighty Sword*
11. Technology baffles me
12. I am a blood donor
13. I speak fluent french
14. I don't like tomato ketchup
15. I love tattoos
16. I rub my nose after playing a pool shot
17. Old Trafford is my favourite place in the world
18. I drink warm milk at bedtime
19. I would like to model for a life class
20. I own a set of flying ducks
21. I have medals for ballroom dancing
22. I am terrible at geography
23. I am proud to be Welsh
24. My talisman is a tiny wizard.
25. I know how déjà vu works
26. I make great cheesecake
27. I remember everything
28. I am completely buoyant
29. I do not park
30. I love the Beatles

31. I hate shopping
32. I have no pain threshold
33. I once held a tarantula
34. I shared a lift with Brad Pitt on my honeymoon
35. I wish my teeth were straight
36. I cry at Coronation Street

37. I wear red underwear to football
38. I get cranky when I'm hungry
39. I know the secret of happiness
40. I hate being tickled
41. I can say the alphabet backwards
42. I like toy boys
43. I hate fun fairs
44. I can cure hiccups
45. I am a cat daemon at weekends
46. Today is my birthday

*Aka Swiss Army Knife

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Flicking the F's

So last week, Sister in China, Junior, the Little Ducks and I were on our annual camping holiday here in Anglesey - joined at various times by Yummy Mummy and H, Mr. and Mrs. Panther Hunter and Cub, the Ginger One and Mr. Duck Senior.

At some point, the conversation turned to Welsh. Not literally - that would require a complete cultural transformation by the majority of the party and a few handy Babel Fish.

No - to the peculiarities and vagaries that constitute the Welsh language, consisting as it does of an alphabet of 28 letters and specifically to its unique pronunciation.

'We're in Benllech' - I explained.


No, Benlllllleccchhhhh - (rolling tongue and clearing throat)


'NO! Ok, try this - Llandudno'


No, Llllandidno

'But it's a u not an i'

As per my 45 Things #23, I felt bound to explain as follows:

'It's simple*. In Welsh i's are y's; u's are i's; au's are i's; y's are e's; dd's are th's; si's are sh's; ff''s are f's and f's are v's. Ll's and ch's have no equivalent whatsoever in English and just are. Easy!'

The faces of the gathering began to take on that bemused look you get in Tesco's when they rearrange all the aisles and you end up with Vanish In-Wash Stain Remover instead of streaky bacon to go with your eggs in the morning.

I decided to make it even simpler.

'In short, when Welsh people are pissed off they flick the F's instead of the V's.'

I demonstrated the gesture, which looks something like a shadow puppeteer doing a pair of Playboy bunnies** and walked off in despair, a trail of ll's and ch's drifting behind me.

*Check it here for clarification
** Do try this at home - the gesture, not the Playboy Bunnies, (although feel free if that's your thing, and Hugh Heffner can spare a couple).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Permission Slip

Now, if you're 7, you will already have learned to ask permission before leaving the dining table.

You will also have heard the phrase,

'Not until everyone's finished'

Every minute lasts an hour at this age, so having permission denied can be frustrating and the ensuing wait interminable, especially if your 9-year-old sibling eats so slowly that the snails of Friendly Drive race to his plate and help themselves before he has a chance to finish.

Yummy Mummy and her family came for lunch on Easter Sunday, as Mrs Duck Senior was over for the weekend. With 10 at the table, laden with food, 'permission denied' was always going to be the answer if Tiddler asked to go and play.

'Can I go to the toilet please?' - he pipes up.

I beam proudly at his excellent manners and congratulate myself on my brilliant parenting skills. I am truly a maternal goddess.

He exits stage left and we carry on eating. After a few minutes, he has not reappeared. JP is despatched to the bathroom to fetch him.

He returns with a note, instead of a small blonde boy.

It's genius. Well-planned, well-executed and rounded off with a perfectly placed comma. I find it impossible to be cross - particularly when JP produces a second note.

He'd taken so much trouble finding just the right words, before settling on a final version - even to the reassuring 'P:S I'll come back' - complete with a correct apostrophe.* 

When he does eventually return, I say nothing -

other than 'Nice grammar Tiddler'

*Come on people! If a 7-year-old can, then so can you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

George II

JP is quietly developing into a pretty good footballer. On Saturday, in the unexpected post-Easter sunshine the under 10's got a crucial victory against one of the division's top sides to keep the threat of relegation at bay. JP won his fourth Man of the Match trophy of the season after an awesome performance at right back. These accolades don't usually fall to defenders, but his team mates unanimously pointed to JP, even before the coach had started his post-match review.

It's just like watching Ferdinand or Vidic (except for the height and the foreignness and the occasional cornrows). He's calm, collected and efficient. No heroics, just tracks the oncoming forwards, times his interventions perfectly and sends the ball sailing back into the path of our forwards or safely into touch as appropriate.

It's a small note of comfort in a week where United's season ended abruptly early and my trip to Madrid got cancelled. Boo.

A couple of weeks ago, as we followed our normal Sunday morning ritual of bacon butties and Match of the Day, Fabregas scored to beat Pires's record of goals from midfield for Arsenal with a strike against Burnley to make his total for the season 14.

I pointed out that United's record for midfield goals is 42, set by Ronaldo. I further pointed out that the previous record was 32, from George Best.

JP pondered for a moment and responded.

 'So he's not Georgie Best any more - he's Georgie Second'

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dominatus NotRodentia Interruptus

My suspicions about the NotRats' world domination plans proved well-founded last week when I foiled their plot to recruit and train a rodent army, capable of destroying the delicate balance of power on the planet and turning humans into evil rabbit fodder.

Masterminded by Emma, with Torres carrying out orders unquestioningly, they have been steadily amassing an army of fieldmice from the meadows surrounding Friendly Drive.

Day after day I have cleaned up food scattered about the house by Emma, mistakenly believing she was just fussy and was discarding unwanted items from the foodbowl.

How wrong I was. The food served to entice unsuspecting and innocent countrymice into the house, thence to be brainwashed, trained in the deadly arts of Rodent Dimac, and hidden away under the kitchen kickboards, awaiting the Big Push.

Douglas Adams foretold this years ago, unveiling mice as the real rulers of Earth - only to be dismissed as a brilliant author of fiction, rather than hailed as the Nostradamus of his generation. Future generations of Nobel Prize winners will worship at his teatowel.

I digress.

I was up unexpectedly early to take a train to Leicester, which required a 3-brew pre-departure strategy, so I headed for the kitchen at about 5.30am. Scuttling along the kickboard was a tiny fieldmouse, desperate to reach its bunker. Now, I've spotted them before and done my best to shoo them back out to their natural habitat - investing in humane traps, rather than poison or guillotine them and incur the wrath of animal rights activists.

But this individual refused to cross the back door, despite my best efforts with a soft broom and set off for NotRat HQ. Believe me I did try, but time was a-passing and my tea:bloodstream levels were dangerously low. In the end I took up a pool cue (not my treasured one) and Happy Gilmored it against a cupboard. Instant death.

I paused to reflect on my actions for a second.

Finding my remorse indicator at a safe zero, I brewed up and went for a shower.

Not 20 minutes later, I'm back in the kitchen and there's another one. I scanned the garden briefly to ensure that the first one hadn't miraculously recovered and fought its way back in, but the bloody corpse was still prostrate on the lawn.

I took up the pool cue and despatched the second with an equally decisive blow (unfortunately at the expense of the cue, but it's a small price to pay).

Emma looked on impassively from the lookout deck and Torres took refuge in the wheel.

The next day I rehomed the NotRats with the Cook and her Lover, to let them regroup and draw their plans against us elsewhere.

When questions are asked in the House about the origins of the Rodent War, they won't be pointing the finger at the Ducks of Friendly Drive.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Meeting people with bizarre true stories which they sell to Take A Break magazine or form the basis of a Channel 4 documentary #1

Yes, it's a long title for a blog post. I considered 'Catwoman' which I believe was the title of a Channel 4 documentary on the same subject, but I feared there would be copyright issues. Also I didn't want traffic from pervy Halle Berry fans finding their way here from Google, looking for images of That Catsuit and being disappointed.*

Anyway. On with the story.

Tiddler had grommets fitted in his ears last week to improve his hearing and also had his adenoids out, to allow him to breathe through his nose. He and I had an overnight stay on Jungle Ward in our East Lancs. General Hospital.

There was a 14-year-old girl in the bed opposite Tiddler who'd been in for 10 days and I was curious as to why.

So when Tiddler fell asleep, over a late brew and a flick through the Celebrity trash magazines piled high on her bed, I asked her why she was in.

In matter of fact tones, more suited to providing a stranger with the correct time or directions to the local library, she informed me that she was in to have a hairball removed from her stomach, for the third time!

She's been pulling out and eating her own ginger hair since she was two, and has twice before had to have a giant hairball surgically removed from her stomach. She even showed me the scars.

They suspect she has another one now and she was going for a Barium scan the following day to establish just how big this one is.

As I struggled to digest the information and formulate an appropriate response, she commented on the lead article of You'll Never Fucking Believe What Chavs Have Done Weekly magazine featuring a 14 year old Trailer Trash kid still breastfeeding from his 22 stone mother:

'My cousin's still breastfeeding and he's 8. And my other cousin has a club foot.'

We didn't get a chance to say goodbye the next morning because she was in with the psychiatrist!

I could have stayed forever.

*If that is you. Can I suggest you go here?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Owen and Out

Friday I wasted two hours of my life calculating the Owen Goal Update.

Minutes after publishing, I got an email saying 'you win' and linking to this.

On the positive side, it means no more Owen Goal posts (if you'll forgive the pun). POAD has given him more coverage this season than his contribution frankly deserves - although he has brought us traffic from people who google him and stumble upon my musings on the subject. So thank you to those Not Rights and Window Lickers - your medication is on the bedside table.

On the very positive side, my roll of tenners is safe and I can plan what to spend my winnings on - avoiding shopping if possible. The bookies are currently offering 16/1 on a United treble, so I'm off to scribble a betting slip and keep my fingers crossed for the Milan game tonight. 

Final tally is:

Appearances: 30/42
Minutes Played: 1160
Goals: 9
Goal Frequency (mins): 1:129
Goals Per Appearance: 0.3

Monday, March 08, 2010

Oh Tiddler, Where Art Thou?

Tiddler was in hospital for minor surgery last week*.

The nurses instructed him to make sure he took a rest every day, whilst enjoying a week off school.

So on Saturday he announces that he's going for a rest and will see us later.

Then promptly disappears.

JP searches the house and I scour Friendly Drive, convinced he's made a break for the outside world.

No sign of him.

JP and I rendez-vous on the landing to review the situation. I recall last summer's Gotcha and check above my head to make sure he's not clinging to the ceiling, about to drop down on top of us.

Suddenly JP pricks up his ears and shushes me.

A persistent, but muffled metallic tune is emanating from the spare room.

'That's Tiddler's DS' - identifies JP.

We pursue Mario's annoying little signature tune, but the room appears empty.

Just as I am about to check my wardrobe to see if Tiddler has stolen my Invisibility Cloak, JP darts forward, lifts the valance sheet and slides back the storage panel under the bed.

Inside, in the small, dark space is Tiddler, complete with pillow and duvet - taking his required rest. His nesting instincts are obviously kicking in again.

We persuade him to leave the panel slightly open to avoid oxygen deprivation and leave him to it.

* More anon about fellow patient 'Catwoman'.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Run JP Run

JP is running for the school cross country team. After his stellar performance in the Manchester Mini Run last year, I'm not surprised. A real chip off the old block. Like me, he obsessively plots his runs on and frets about his shoes. We're planning to train together for this year's Great Run event.

Even Tiddler.

Which is more problematic.

Although his performance at right back continues to fill me with pride, Tiddler still skips around the football pitch like a girl and has recently taken to Premiership-standard petulance and on-pitch swearing. In the Under 8 League, this is an automatic sending off and he's lucky the ref hasn't heard him yet. The odds on him being the first player to be sent off for the team are so short, I'd have to bet the farm just to win a pot plant.

Owen Goal Update

19 games have come and gone since I last reported and it's perilously close. Despite maintaining unusual fitness levels and a frankly unnecessary hat trick at Wolfsburg which skewed all the figures, Owen's appearance rate and average minutes played haven't improved at all and he remains a bit player.

He compensated for the hat trick with a barren spell of 9 games without a goal, but popped up in the last week with one against West Ham and one at Wemberley.

His fitness isn't that surprising given that he's only played 1 full game since the last report, played less than 20 minutes in 6 and not appeared at all in 7. Sure enough, he picked up a hamstring injury on Sunday which puts him out for a week or two. A third of the remaining possible games are Champions League, and the projected goal tally assumes we'll reach the final. After the performance in Milan last week, I'm optimistic. He hasn't featured in the recent big games against Arsenal, Villa and City, and we still have the Rent Boys and Mersey Reds to play again at home, with his selection unlikely.

Appearances: 30/42
Minutes Played: 1160
Goals: 9
Goal Frequency (mins): 1:129
Goals Per Appearance: 0.3
Projected Season Tally*: 12

* Calculated as follows: His average playing time per appearance (39 mins), goal frequency (every 129 minutes or 3.3 games at current minutes per appearance rate), number of possible appearances left (10 Prem games and c5 cup games), and appearance frequency (currently 71%). So 15 games x 71% = 11 appearances. 11/3.3 = 3 more goals

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Your Very Good Health!

The Manchester Run is less than 3 months away and my target of 55 minutes for this year seems enormous at present. After breaking my ribs and getting swine flu last year, my running regime has been somewhat sporadic and I find myself carrying a few extra pounds and horribly unfit again. Boo.

I can't do diets - my maths is too dreadful for counting calories or points and I'm colour blind, so the whole red days/green days malarky is a non-starter.

I don't think I could do slimming pills - the TV ad for the leading brand is enough to put me off. They're called 'Adios', the soundtrack is Burn Baby Burn and the active ingredient is Fucus.

Adios, Burn and Fucus.


It sounds more like the executive committee of the Assassins Guild than a diet aid.

Speaking of diet aids, I was in Holland and Barrett last week for dried blueberries and Dead Sea Mud (tagging along, not shopping).

They really need to rethink their marketing strategy or at least employ doormen to vet the losers trying to gain entry, in the same way posh clubs only allow beautiful people in.

It promotes itself as a health store, yet its customers are the very worst advert for their products. The shop is packed with fat, wheezy pensioners, dragging their tartan trollies while they stock up on prunes and cod liver oil; or pale, obese men eyeing up the instant muscle powder.

Everyone's a before, not an after*.

No, it has to be running for me - and soon - before my clothes start to protest even further.

It could be worse. JP and Tiddler were having a oneupmanship contest in the back of the car recently - largely involving threats of exposure to school mates, regarding valentines, love and girls worth kissing. It was about even, until Tiddler stuck the knife firmly in with:

'If you do, I'm going to tell everyone at school you're secretly fat!'

Game, set and match, Tiddler. There's no comeback to that.

*although if they're taking Adios, they may never reach after.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tags 'R Us

Whilst I continue to hate shopping, I have discovered a hidden, shopping-related talent which I am considering as a career change.

I am excellent at tagging along.

Yummy Mummy and I recently spent a Wednesday and Friday out (with lunch obv.) looking for curtain and blind fabric for her dining room. The dyslexic leading the colour blind.

I tagged along.

It's relatively simple. You trail about a yard behind, hold shopping bags, alert shop assistants, nod in agreement in all the right places and feed parking meters. Oh and go in search of suitable candidates for purchase, having been given a very strict set of instructions.

As a bonus by-product, you also make purchases - three dogwood trees, 3 must-have-because-they're-perfect-for-your-kitchen-and-you-like-them-and-you-just-broke-your-favourite-anyway-mugs, new school trousers for JP and a place to get curtains made (finally!)

So the shopping also gets done without you even noticing.

It's Brilliant.

But that's what husbands/boyfriends are for, aren't they? you counter.

Yes, but here's the thing. They complain; can't gossip and tag along at the same time because that's multi-tasking; won't share a pain au chocolat and not everyone has one.

I could hire myself out. Yummy would give me a good reference I'm sure - especially since I spotted the purple, silk fabric she eventually bought (gold star for me). They'll be queuing up to hire me.

This could be my millionaire idea. I could start a matching agency - pairing shoppers with suitable taggers-along.

Watch this space. Oh, and email me if you have shopping plans. I'll check my diary.